Big Ben fundraiser given boost after Arron Banks donates £50,000
Millionaire Brexiteer Arron Banks has donated £50,000 to see Big Ben chime as the fundraising total nears £250,000.
The businessman, along with the Leave Means Leave group, gave the fundraiser a massive boost on Friday, Mark Francois claimed.
The Conservative MP told BBC Radio 4’s World At One: "Following telephone calls this morning, Leave Means Leave and Aaron Banks have now donated £50,000 towards the campaign.
“We are now not far short of £220,000, and by the end of the day we probably won’t be a million miles away from having raised half the total in two days.”
Members of the public are still pouring their hard-earned cash into the fundraiser, hoping Big Ben will be allowed to chime in celebration of the moment the UK will legally leave the European Union - 11pm on Friday, January 31.
More than 12,000 individuals have donated to the cause.
The Stand Up 4 Brexit "Big Ben must bong for Brexit" campaign is hoping to raise £500,000 to pay for the celebratory chiming.
However, Boris Johnson's spokesman said there could be "potential difficulties" in accepting the donation, so the money could ultimately be rejected.
But the Prime Minister's official spokesman on Thursday said: "The House of Commons authorities have set out that there may be potential difficulties in accepting money from public donations.
"I think the PM's focus is on the events which he and the Government are planning to mark January 31. It's a significant moment in our history and we want to ensure that's properly recorded."
Campaign organiser Rebecca Ryan said the cash would go to veterans charity Help for Heroes if it did not go towards Big Ben.
Time might also be a factor in whether the campaign will be successful as Ms Ryan warned that some time would be needed to "make necessary preparations" and said they would need to hit their target by this weekend.
Ms Ryan posted on the GoFundMe page on Friday, writing: "We’re a third of the way there!
"This is a people-powered campaign that been enthusiastically supported by the public with over 10,800 people donating since the initiative was launched - showing Britons’ can-do-it spirit in the face of anonymous briefings that the parliamentary authorities would not be able to accept any cash.
"As you’ll have seen on the campaign if we don’t make the target donations will go to Help for Heroes. But stand firm.
"People power is overcoming the reticence of the British establishment to demonstrate pride in our own country. Every single donation is a poke in the eye for our mandarin class who are clearly reluctant to celebrate our becoming a free country again."
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