Friday evening news briefing: Bill for Big Ben to bong 35 times more than cost of it ringing on New Year's Eve

Chris Price
A specialist technical abseil team clean and inspect one of the four faces of the Great Clock last month - PA

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Big Ben bong bill 35 times more expensive than New Year's Eve 

The battle for the bongs rings on after it has emerged MPs' £500,000 estimate of allowing Big Ben to bong on Brexit night is more than 30 times more than the bill for sounding Parliament's Great Bell on New Year's Eve. Chief Political Correspondent Christopher Hope's exclusive risks undermining the House of Commons' Commission's decision not to allow Big Ben to chime at 11pm on Jan 31 on grounds of cost. By lunchtime today £220,000 had been raised by members of the public to cover the cost of the Brexit night bongs. Here are the details. It comes as Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, said EU citizens will not be automatically deported even if they fail to apply to remain in the UK during the grace period provided by the Government. He said he had received a raft of assurances after a meeting with the Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay. For anyone worried about what on earth will happen after January 31 (beyond whether Big Ben will bong) here is a guide to what happens after Brexit day. PS - Germany's foreign office has apologised for an ill-judged joke on its Twitter account linking visas to seduction. Click here for details.

Football for sale: Agents and manager sentenced

Two players' agents and a senior club football manager have been sentenced for their part in a football corruption scandal which shocked the game. The three had been convicted of bribery charges last month, following an investigation by The Telegraph exposing their activities. Giuseppe 'Pino' Pagliara, Dax Price and Tommy Wright were found guilty of soliciting and accepting bribes in order to gain influencein the selection, management and ownership of players. Read on for details.

Question Time row over 'racist' Meghan coverage

Actor Laurence Fox has described criticism of his Question Time appearance as "water off a duck's back" after he argued with an audience member over the Duchess of Sussex. A row erupted as he responded to a claim from a woman that the media's treatment of Meghan amounted to "racism", with the audience member then describing Fox as a "white, privileged male". You can watch their exchange here. It comes as it emerges the Duchess of Sussex has been joined at her Canadian hideaway by a Pilates instructor and fitness entrepreneur who she once described as a "little blonde guru". Read on for details and pictures.

News digest

Video: Iran's Supreme Leader attacks UK in sermon

Iran's Supreme Leader led a sermon in Tehran for the first time in eight years saying Britain and other European states who were party to the country's nuclear pact were "American pawns" who "cannot be trusted". Thousands listened to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, occasionally interrupting the prayers with chants of "God is the greatest" and "death to America".

Comment

World news: The one story you must read today...

Ritual killings | Seven people were killed in a bizarre religious sacrifice in a jungle community in Panama, in which indigenous residents were rounded up by about 10 lay preachers and tortured, beaten, burned and hacked with machetes to make them "repent their sins". Police freed 14 members of the Ngabe Bugle group. Video shows the aftermath after the dead were found in a mass grave, including a pregnant woman.

Editor's choice

  1. Bad rating Why going 'full Monzo' can damage your credit score
  2. Five stars | Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre is perfect theatre in a perfect theatre
  3. Laser weapons | How 'death ray' beams could lead to a new era in warfare

Business and money briefing

Worst run on record | Food shops suffered their first annual fall in December sales in six years as shoppers counted the pennies this Christmas. The fall in retail sales means shops have not seen a month of growth since July and has prompted speculation about interest rates.

Sport briefing

South Africa v England | Ollie Pope ended on 135 not out after a sparkling maiden Test century as England declared on 499/9 on the second day of the third Test. Here is how the home side responded.

Tonight's TV  

Stewart Copeland's Adventures in Music, BBC Four, 9.30pm | In the superb opening episode, Stewart Copeland argues convincingly – and very entertainingly – that music is an innate part of our make-up. Read on for more.

And finally...

Start the rot | Put rotting logs in your garden to help the bugs who face extinction in a "sea of tarmac drives and concrete patios", nature organisations have said. The Woodland Trust said rotting wood is usually looked at with suspicion as people are afraid it is dirty and carries diseases. But, they said, its potential value is being missed.