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Commons authorities announce review into silencing of Big Ben

Commons authorities announce review into silencing of Big Ben

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

Parliamentary authorities have announced a review into the decision to silence Big Ben for four years, following an intervention from the Prime Minister.

It was announced earlier this week that Big Ben would fall silent from next Monday until 2021, with the exception of chimes for special occasions like Remembrance Sunday and the New Year.

Yesterday Parliament defended the decision to halt the ringing, claiming it would protect the hearing of workers on the site.

A spokesman said the "prolonged exposure to the chimes would pose a serious risk".

However, following pressure from top politicians such as Theresa May and Davis Davis. a parliamentary spokesman said officials would now “consider the length of time the bells will fall silent in light of concerns expressed by MPs”.

Mrs May said earlier today that it “can’t be right” for the bells to stop ringing for so long.

Mr Davis said he had been left confused by the planned length of the works.

“It’s mad,” he told LBC.  

“I can’t understand why. There’s hardly a health and safety argument – it’s replacing the bell. Maybe it’s to do with all the trouble about the £3bn they want to spend on Parliament, who knows – also an interesting problem...But they should get on with it.”

Fellow Conservative MP James Gray called the idea “entirely bonkers”.

Labour’s Stephen Pound added: “They kept the bells tolling through the Blitz. The Luftwaffe could not stop it but health and safety has. There has to be a way around.”

Another Tory, Shailesh Vara, mused: “Why should it be taking four years? Are they working three shifts in 24 hours, or are they doing a 9 to 5?”

Steve Jaggs, the keeper of the Great Clock, said: “This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home – the Elizabeth Tower.”

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