The MPs’ £500,000 estimate of allowing Big Ben to bong on Brexit night is more than 30 times more than the bill for sounding Parliament’s Bell on New Year’s Eve according to The Daily Telegraph.
The House of Commons’s Commission decision not to allow Big Ben to chime at 11pm on Jan 31 was on grounds of cost.
Brexiteers believe the reason for the cost being so high is down to remainers in the commons who never accepted the result of the referendum, have inflated the cost to discourage Brexit celebrations.
The Commission formally rejected a request to allow the Great Bell to chime on Monday saying that contractors had said it would cost £500,000.
This covered the cost of reinstating a floor underneath Big Ben that was removed after New Year’s Day, as well as reinstalling the temporary equipment needed to make the bell sound
However that figure has been called into question after Sir Paul Beresford, a senior Tory MP, told MPs today that the bell cost just £14,200 to sound on other occasions.
Sir Paul told Tory MP Mark Francois in a Parliamentary answer: “The costs associated with striking Big Ben on Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve in 2019 were £14.2k including VAT on each occasion.”
He added: “The striking of Big Ben on these occasions was coordinated around the planned works so as to minimise the impact on the project costs and to ensure it did not result in any delay.
“If the project team are required to strike the bell with less notice, the costs would substantially increase due to the unexpected impact on the project schedule.”
Mr Francois, the Tory MP who has been campaigning for Big Ben to sound and running a crowdfunding campaign, demanded to know why the cost was 35 times more on Brexit Night than on New Year’s Eve.
“I have always suspected that these costs were inflated but I never dreamt it was 35 fold! What was becoming an embarrassment is now evolving into a scandal.
£225,000 has so far been raised by members of the public to cover the cost of the Brexit night bongs.