Eurosceptic MPs launch bid for Big Ben to chime on Brexit Day

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
A group of 50 are campaigning for Big Ben to chime on January 31 - the day the UK is set to leave the EU (PA)

A group of MPs have launched a campaign for Big Ben to chime on Brexit Day - in a direct challenge to John Bercow’s ruling that it should be silent.

The group of around 50 Eurosceptic MPs have requested that Britiain’s exit from the EU is added to the list of special occasions for which the Great Bell of Westminster.

The clock hands of Elizabeth Tower at the Palace of Westminster have been removed for maintenance and restoration work. The spire of Big Ben is set to be revealed from beneath its scaffolding (PA)

The 160-year-old Elizabeth Tower - the tower which houses the bell known as Big Ben has been undergoing a £60million renovation.

But the clock's once hourly chimes have been silenced to protect the hearing of construction workers in the tower.

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Big Ben only rings only sound at moments of national significance, such as Remembrance Sunday and New Year.

But the group - with signatories including David Davis and Iain Duncan Smith -  are seeking to overturn then ban, as Mr Bercow has been replaced as Speaker by Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

But according to the Telegraph, the group say it should also chime at 11pm on January 31 - the precise moment the UK will leave the EU if Boris Johnson’s deal is passed in Parliament.

Mr Bercow ruled the clock should stay silent during the restoration project - but he is no longer Speaker of the House of Commons (PA)

Mark Francois of the ERG and leader of the group, first brought the issue up in March 2018 - but the former speaker said only one member of the Parliament Commission supported the idea when it was raised.

Mark Francois, said: “The fact that Speaker Bercow was not a fan of Brexit is not exactly a state secret, and this explains his deep reluctance to allow Big Ben to chime on exit day. 

“However, we are now in a new era, and it seems inconceivable to me and my colleagues that Big Ben would not form part of a national celebration to leave the EU.