Nigel Farage vows to bring his own bongs to Brexit bash after Big Ben ban by 'bureaucrats'

Written by John Johnston on 23 January 2020 in Diary

Nigel Farage has launched a fresh bid to get Big Ben's iconic bongs to mark the moment the UK leaves the EU.

The Brexit Party leader has upped the stakes in the row over getting the bell to chime to mark the UK's exit from the EU at 11pm on 31 January as he vowed to provide his own bongs if "bureaucrats" continued to block the plans.

House of Commons authorities have dismissed suggestions the iconic bell, which is currently undergoing major renovations, could be made ready for the end of the month celebrations, saying the preparations would cost around £500,000.

Boris Johnson has already been forced into a humiliating climbdown over the row after he suggested the public should "bung a bob" to cover the cost, before being forced to dump the plan just days later after the Commons said there would be no way for them to accept the public's cash.

Despite the snub, donations have already crossed the £250,000 mark, with millionaire businessman Arron Banks and the Leave Means Leave group donating £50,000 towards the cause.

Meanwhile, pro-Brexit MP Mark Francois, who has championed the crowdfunder, has donated a further £1,000.

But in an email to supporters, Mr Farage vowed to bring a "powerful speaker system" to recreate the chimes if they fail to convince Parliament to allow the celebration.

"We will be celebrating all those who have made this monumental victory for democracy possible - including politicians on the left and the right, campaigners who hand out leaflets in the rain, and the millions who turned out to vote.

"All are invited to the event, which will run from 9:30-11:15pm, with a prestigious line up of speakers, with extra screens, entertainment and momentos."

He added: "We are still working on making the famous bell of Big Ben toll, but if bureaucrats in parliament refuse to allow this, we will recreate the sound with our powerful speak system.

"The world will be watching and listening. After more than 20 years of EU membership and a three-and-a-half year battle to uphold the referendum result, Brexit is happening."

The plan comes after other measures to celebrate the moment, including a fireworks display launched from St James' Park, were blocked over animal welfare concerns.

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