Boris Johnson calls on the public to pay for Big Ben to bong for Brexit
Boris Johnson is planning a huge fundraising drive so that Big Ben can chime at the moment the UK leaves the EU, he has revealed.
The Prime Minister said he wanted the public to "bung a bob for a Big Ben bong" at 11pm on 31 January.
The iconic clock tower is currently silent for restoration work, and the cost of bringing it back for a one-off occasion is estimated at £500,000, Mr Johnson told BBC Breakfast.
Pro-Brexit Tory MP Mark Francois has called for the bell to chime at the moment the UK officially leaves the EU, although it had been thought that the Government did not support it.
But Mr Johnson said: "We’re working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong, because everybody knows Big Ben is being refurbished, they’ve seemed to have taken away the clapper away.
"So we need to restore the clapper in order to bong Big Ben on Brexit night.
"That is expensive so we’re looking at whether people might want...we’re looking at how we can fund it."
The House of Commons Commission discussed funding the move on Monday but ruled it out for financial and logistical reasons.
IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Johnson suggested he now supports scrapping the existing Iran nuclear deal and replacing it with one negotiated by Donald Trump.
It comes amid pressure from the US President, who has called on the UK to join America in withdrawing from the so-called JCPOA.
"My point to our American friends are look, somehow or other we’ve got to stop the Iranians requiring a nuclear weapon, that’s what the JCPOA does. But if we’re going to get rid of it we need a replacement.
“The problem with the JCPOA..from the American perspective it’s a flawed agreement, it expires, plus it was negotiated by President Obama.
“If we’re going to get rid of it, let’s replace it with the Trump deal and I think that would be a great way forward.”
The Prime Minister meanwhile stayed tight-lipped over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to quit being senior Royals, and whether press coverage of Meghan Markle had 'colonial undertones'.
He said: “The Royal family is a fantastic asset for this country, I am absolutely confident they’re going to sort this out. And do you know what I think they’ll be able to sort it out easier without any particular commentary from me.”