Big Ben: Would Brexit bongs cost?500,000?" width="976" height="549">
It would cost
Public can fund Brexit day bongs, says PM
Big Ben in pictures
Big Ben's bongs to fall silent until 2021 for repairs
Why would it cost so much?
The House of Commons Commission, which is responsible for maintenance in Parliament, estimates the cost of sounding Big Ben on Brexit day is between ?320,000 and ?500,000.
Its estimate is made up of two separate costs:
Bringing back the bonging mechanism and installing a temporary floor - ?120,000
The cost of delaying the conservation work - up to ?400,000 (based on an estimate of ?100,000 a week)
The commission says the floor in the belfry has been removed and there would be a significant cost to put in and then remove a temporary floor.As well as the floor, the ?120,000 figure also includes the cost of installing and dismantling the temporary mechanism (an electric bell hammer) to sound the bell.Delaying the restoration work already taking place to enable the bongs would also add ?100,000 a week to the bill.As such, the commission concludes that the cost is not justified - although it says it will respond to any decision MPs make.
What about New Year's Eve?
Despite the repair works, Big Ben does still occasionally chime - as recently as New Year's Eve.When the restoration work started in 2017, it was agreed that Big Ben should sound for Remembrance Sunday, Armistice Day and New Year's Eve. According to the House of Commons, this arrangement allowed the project team to plan its works around the dates well in advance.
Big Ben most recently chimed on New Year's Eve
That means that any ringing beyond these dates will require further funds to be spent.According to the Commons, it was decided that the belfry floor work would begin on 2 January in order not to interfere with New Year's Eve.The reconstruction work on the floor is likely to be significant, involving resurfacing and waterproofing. The Commons has ruled out getting this done by 31 January, which is why a temporary floor would need to be installed and then removed.
Big Ben basics
The Great Bell forms part of the Great Clock in the Elizabeth Tower - commonly known as Big Ben
It weighs 13.7 tonnes and the Elizabeth Tower stands 96m (315ft) tall
Every hour it strikes an E note, and every 15 minutes four "quarter bells" chime
To stop the chimes, the striking hammers will be locked until 2021
What repair works are being done?
Big Ben's chimes were silenced on 21 August 2017 to allow essential restoration work, lasting four years, to be carried out on the tower.Parliamentary authorities said stopping the chimes would protect workers carrying out the repairs.Since then Big Ben has occasionally bonged for important events including New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday.The total cost of the restoration project to the tower is estimated at ?61m.According to Parliament, the last time significant work was carried out was in 1983-85 - that project involved cleaning and repair of the stone, painting and repairs to the roof.
Big Ben repair works: Q&A
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