Boris’ bonkers ‘bung a bob for Big Ben Brexit bongs’ bid bombs
Boris Johnson's plan to crowdfund the half-a-million cost of ringing Big Ben on Brexit has unravelled less than five hours after he suggested it.
Mr Johnson said plans were being drawn up to allow the public to "bung a bob" for Parliament's famous bell to ring out at 11pm on January 31.
But so far no plan has been revealed because the Elizabeth Tower, which holds the Great Bell known as Big Ben, is being restored.
The issue was discussed at a meeting of the House of Commons Commission on Monday. But the cost was estimated at £500,000 – so the idea was ditched.
Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle today urged caution over any plan to toll the bell, saying: "You are talking about £50,000 a bong."
Mr Johnson told the BBC this morning: "Because Big Ben is being refurbished, they seem to have taken the clapper away, so we need to restore the clapper in order to bong Big Ben on Brexit night.
"And that is expensive, so we're looking at whether the public can fund it."
But the PM's official spokesman said that there was no government account to fundraise for the effort.
They confirmed that Downing St was in talks with Parliament authorities about securing a fitting tribute.
It's understood the bell-ringing stunt could only be facilitated if the cash was raised by a private crowdfunder.
Earlier, SNP MP Stewart McDonald said: "A ‘global Britain’ that has to run a crowdfunder to ring the bells of its most famous clock tower. We really are through the looking glass."
Fellow SNP MP Neil Gray added: "The obsession with Big Ben chiming for Brexit really highlights the shallowness of the Vote Leave campaign.
"Big Ben to bong (thanks to public subscription), but no guarantee for EU nationals, no guarantee on Erasmus and a power grab from the devolved settlement. Priorities."
The 315ft, Grade I listed Elizabeth Tower that holds the bell and clock face is undergoing a £61m restoration in which costs have more than doubled.
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