Big Ben won’t chime on Brexit day

(170821) -- LONDON, Aug. 21, 2017 (Xinhua) -- People gather in front of the Big Ben in central London, Britain on Aug. 21, 2017. London's famous Big Ben chimed for the last time on Monday when the famous Great Bell fell silent until 2021. (Xinhua/Stephen Chung)(whw)

London  The Big Ben will not chime on the day the UK is set to exit the European Union (EU), after efforts failed to persuade the House of Commons to allow the famous bell to ring on Friday night.

‘Stand Up 4 Brexit’ organisers and Conservative MP Mark Francois, admitted on Monday that they had failed to get the bell to chime at 11 p.m. on Friday, the Metro newspaper said in a report.

Francois said the campaign received more than 14,000 donations from 56 countries in under a fortnight and the money will now be donated to the Help for Heroes military charity.

He said that “even though Big Ben will regrettably not chime for Brexit”, many people “will be celebrating the fact that we become a free country again”, which was “the greatest prize of all”.

A GoFundMe appeal page, which raised 272,770 pounds ($355,657) and was fuelled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was officially shut down on Monday afternoon.

Johnson had suggested that his government was “working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong”, but it later transpired that no such plan existed, said the Metro report.

The Big Ben has been silenced since 2017 for the safety of workers undertaking a four-year restoration project of Elizabeth Tower.

The House of Commons Commission estimated that the cost of bringing the bell back into use could be as much as 500,000 pounds.