Hopes for Big Ben Bonging on Brexit Day Dashed

Pro-EU demonstrators rally during the People's March for Europe against Brexit in Parliament Square in central London on September 9, 2017. Thousands joined the pro-EU march calling on politicians to 'unite, rethink and reject Brexit'. / AFP PHOTO / NIKLAS HALLE'N (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty

Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle has not chosen an amendment to the Brexit bill for debate on requiring Big Ben to chime on Brexit day.

The campaign was led by Conservative Brexiteer MPs Mark Francois and Nigel Evans and would have seen the clock housed in the Queen Elizabeth Tower ring at 11 pm on January 31st, 2020, when the UK officially leaves the EU. Big Ben’s functionality has been limited whilst it and the tower are undergoing renovations.

Speaker Hoyle confirmed to the Independent that the amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill had not been selected. Downing Street could yet renew a push to have Big Ben bong in the coming weeks. However, a Number 10 spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that the prime minister was planning some celebratory event to mark the end of nearly 47 years of Brussels colonial rule.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage is also planning a 10,000-strong street party in Parliament Square and has applied to the mayor of London for the permit.

The acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, which campaigned to cancel Brexit during the December 2019 election, said that Mr Farage should not be allowed to hold an event celebrating the UK leaving the EU because it would be divisive.

Ed Davey told LBC Radio: “I don’t think it’s very unifying… We want to unify the country to learn the lessons.”

“Nigel Farage knows this that this has divided the country. The idea that a party in Parliament Square will be a way of bringing the country together is quite literally nonsense,” Mr Davey claimed.

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