Now Brexiteers demand Big Ben bongs Britain out

PUBLISHED: 10:09 22 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:09 22 January 2018

Big Ben

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Brexiteers have reacted with fury after the Cabinet Office said there were no plans for Big Ben to chime to mark Britain leaving the EU next year.

With not much than a year until Britain formally leaves the bloc, Conservative hardliners have shifted their attention from a lack of postage stamps to commemorate the move to the departure not being soundtracked by the iconic clock.

It comes as Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, Theresa May's de facto deputy, said there were "no arrangements" for the bell in the Palace of Westminster's Elizabeth Tower to ring to mark Brexit next year.

Mr Lidington was asked by SNP MP Patrick Grady "whether he has had discussions with the House of Commons Commission about making arrangements for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK's departure from the EU".

He replied: "There are currently no arrangements for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK’s departure from the EU."

The response was attacked by Tory Hard Brexiteer Andrew Bridgen, who told the Daily Telegraph: "I think this is completely wrong.

"The biggest democratic decision in this country being enacted is a cause for celebration.

"And to do that we need to have Big Ben ringing out our exit from the European Union and our reassertion of parliamentary sovereignty."

His view was echoed by Conservative leadership hopeful Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said: "Big Ben is chiming on other important occasions.

"It is a matter for the parliamentary authorities, not the government.

"I'm surprised the Cabinet Office is involved."

Big Ben stopped chiming on a regular basis since last August as Elizabeth Tower is undergoing renovations as part of a four-year plan costing more than £60m.

Eloise Todd, chief executive of anti-Brexit group Best for Britain, said that the “public mood is shifting” away from Brexit.

She said: "It doesn't matter if the bells toll or Elizabeth Tower is renovated in time because we still have the biggest decision to make yet.

"If people don't want to leave and, it feels to me, the public mood is shifting, they don't have to.

“I don't believe we should ring in Brexit. It is the biggest act of economic self harm in modern times."

The row follows an attack on the Royal Mail by Brexiteers for not printing a commemorative stamp. Former Brexit minister David Jones described the decision as "outrageous" and Tory MP Peter Bone said the Royal Mail was "part of the establishment".

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