Big Ben’s bongs will ring in the new year

David Hughes, PA Political Editor
·1-min read

Big Ben is to be reconnected so that it can ring in the new year, House of Commons authorities have said.

As part of preparations for the event, the bell will also bong at 11pm on New Year’s Eve – the moment the UK leaves the European Union’s single market and customs union.

The famous bell has been largely silent since 2017 due to repairs on the clock and Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower which houses it, only being reconnected for significant occasions.

The bell, which weighs 13.7 tonnes, last rang on November 11 to mark Armistice Day.

Coronavirus – Sat Nov 7, 2020
Coronavirus restrictions mean that the usual crowds will not gather for New Year’s Eve to see the clock strike midnight and hear the famous bongs of Big Ben (Yui Mok/PA)

Members of the public have been urged to stay away from Westminster on New Year’s Eve due to coronavirus restrictions.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “no-one should be gathering in large groups to see in the new year”.

The bell will be tested in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve to ensure it can produce its 12 bongs when the clock strikes midnight.

One of the tests will be an hour before midnight, which coincides with the end of the Brexit transition period.

There was a row earlier this year as Brexiteers tried and ultimately failed to get the bell to ring in the moment the UK left the European Union on January 31.