Mark Francois calls for Big Ben to chime on January 31st if Brexit bill approved

PUBLISHED: 13:14 23 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:14 23 December 2019

Mark Francois with anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images.

Mark Francois with anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images.

PA Wire/PA Images

Tory Brexiteers Mark Francois and David Davis are amongst those signing an internal Commons petition calling for Big Ben’s bel to be re-attached on January 31st to mark Brexit.

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Some 47 Conservative and 5 DUP MPs have signed the petition, which if approved, would see the bell that was disconnected in 2017 restored to mark Boris Johnson's Brexit bill passing.

Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle has confirmed he will not stand in the way of the bill if parliament supports Francois.

But he added the building work could still prevent it happening, telling MPs: "I just hope it is fit because we're still repairing it!"

Giving approval to the measure would require two days of rehearsals and testing to ensure that Big Ben still works.

It currently does not chime every hour and can only manage a low-pitched "dong", meaning the noise on January 31st might be more akin to a funeral bell.

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