Tory plan for Big Ben to bong in Brexit day celebration scuppered

Big Ben to chime

INDEPENDENT

Conservative campaign for Big Ben to bong specially to “celebrate” the moment Brexit goes ahead on 31 January appears to have been dashed.

An amendment to the withdrawal agreement bill to require the famous bell to be re-attached at 11pm on Brexit day – at unknown cost – has not been selected for debate.

The decision is a blow to scores of hard Brexit-backing Tory MPs, including David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, who had signed a Commons motion demanding the move.

The 315ft, Grade I listed Elizabeth Tower which holds the bell and clock face is undergoing a £61m restoration in which costs have already more than doubled.

However, Downing Street is planning events to mark the moment the UK leaves the European Union, after nearly 47 years – without saying what – and could yet renew the push for Big Ben to bong.

And Nigel Farage has claimed he is planning to throw a £100,000 party in Parliament Square on 31 January, with fireworks, bands and speakers. 

The office of new Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle told The Independent that the amendment had not been selected for debate.

MPs are about to begin three days of detailed scrutiny of the withdrawal bill, which – after Boris Johnson’s election triumph – is likely to sail through unchanged.

Other amendments include a Labour demand for the post-Brexit transition periodto be extended by two years to December 2022, if the prime minister fails to secure a free trade agreement with the EU by the end of this year.

Tory plan for Big Ben to bong in Brexit day celebration scuppered

A Conservative campaign for Big Ben to bong specially to “celebrate” the moment Brexit goes ahead on 31 January appears to have been dashed. An amendment to the withdrawal agreement bill to require the famous bell to be re-attached at 11pm on Brexit day – at unknown cost – has not been selected for debate.

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