Tory MPs say Big Ben chiming on Brexit day would provide ‘closure’ - but it will cost £120,000

PUBLISHED: 10:04 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:49 13 January 2020

Deputy Chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) Mark Francois MP leaves the cabinet office in London. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Deputy Chairman of the European Research Group (ERG) Mark Francois MP leaves the cabinet office in London. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

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Hardline Tory Brexiteer MPs are still pushing for Big Ben to chime on Brexit day, claiming it will provide ‘closure’, despite the cost being in the region of £120,000.

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For the clock to chime for the occasion there would need to be 14 days' worth of testing to enable it to chime at 11pm on the date the UK is expected to leave the European Union.

Now 60 MPs - including Mark Francois, Iain Duncan Smith, Bill Cash and John Redwood - have signed a letter to the Telegraph demanding the chiming takes place.

"Unless this decision is overturned, Big Ben will stay silent on this historic night," they have written.

"We believe this would be much to the consternation of many people around the UK who wish to celebrate this momentous event.

"Moreover, we believe that, given the number of years that we in parliament have been arguing over this issue, leaving on January 31 will help to bring a degree of closure, not just in the House but hopefully among the public as a whole."

They added: "Allowing Big Ben to chime could help to provide some catharsis in this process."

A spokesperson for the House of Commons confirmed to the Telegraph that there would be big cost implications.

He said: "The project team would need at least two weeks to prepare for striking Big Ben on January 31, including carrying out the necessary testing."

He added: "The final cost will depend on the scale and nature of the disruption to the works. In broad terms, the estimated cost is £120,000 to sound the bell, plus circa £100,000 for each week of delays.

"This estimate is based on the fixed cost of installing, testing, operating and dismantling the temporary mechanism used to sound the bell during the works, plus an allowance for each week that work on the project is delayed."

Last week Francois was ridiculed after claiming if it is not approved he will "take a big hammer up there and bong it himself".

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