Brexiteers’ hopes of Big Ben bonging the nation out of the EU were dashed today as the Government confirmed it had no plans to sound the bells.
Leave campaigners want the chimes to ring out when Britain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.
The bells and the Elizabeth Tower — one of London’s most famous landmarks - are in the middle of a four-year refurbishment and the hourly bongs stopped in August.
Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said in a written answer to an MP: “There are currently no arrangements for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.” This is despite Big Ben chiming for Remembrance Sunday and the New Year.
MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “It obviously can be done as Big Ben is chiming on other important occasions while the works are going on.
“I think it is a matter for the Parliament authorities, not the Government, so I am surprised that the Cabinet Office is involved.”
Brexit-backing MPs, including Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, are likely to keep up the pressure on authorities for Big Ben to chime on Brexit Day.