Nick Ferrari offers to crowdfund cash to get Big Ben to bong on Brexit day
14 January 2020, 08:35 | Updated: 14 January 2020, 11:14
Nick Ferrari offered to get Brexit backers to pay for Big Ben to bong on Brexit day after authorities ruled that it was too expensive.
A number of MPs had pushed for the bongs to be heard at 11pm on 31st January, but it is understood the House of Commons Commission has ruled it out on cost and logistical grounds.
Nick ridiculed the decision and immediately offered £1,000 to get the bell ringing.
And he started the campaign by contacting leading Brexiters such as Lord Bamford and Tim Martin from Wetherspoons to help get the rest of the money.
Big Ben only struck two weeks ago to mark the start of 2020, but since then, the temporary floor needed to ring the bell has been removed. It would need to be rebuilt in order to sound Big Ben again for Brexit day.
Lord Ashcroft is understood to have offered to underwrite the crowdfunding to ensure that the government will never be out of pocket.
Conservative MP Mark Francois is an outspoken Brexiter and he told Nick why he wants Big Ben to sound to mark the next chapter in the UK.
He told LBC: "`Under Article 50, we leave the European Union at 11pm GMT on that night. After all these years, for those that want to mark this moment, they are going to want to look to a clock to mark the time accurately, just as you do when you celebrate New Year's Eve.
"And it seems ludicrous to me and many of my colleagues that we are not allowed to look at Big Ben because it won't be made to chime.
"Even though it chimes for New Year's Eve and for Remembrance Sunday - and so it should. So what is the cost of both of those?"
Even staunch Remainer Lord Adonis backed the idea, telling LBC: "You've offered a very constructive way forward. I don't think the public should spend half a million pounds to allow the bell to toll just once.
"But if people are prepared to pay for it, that's fine by me. I think you've been extremely public-spirited."