No Big Ben bongs: UK government plans light show to mark moment of Brexit

FILE PHOTO: British Union Jack flag flies in front of the clock face of Big Ben in London, Britain August 29, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street residence will be lit up with a countdown to Britain’s exit from the European Union on Jan. 31, as part of a light display to mark the moment of Brexit, the government said on Friday.

Johnson had proposed a crowdfunding campaign to allow the Big Ben bell in parliament’s clock tower to sound even though it has been largely silent since 2017 while renovation work is carried out on the tower.

Members of the public have donated more than 200,000 pounds ($260,580) of the 500,000 pounds Johnson said it would cost for Big Ben to bong, but the government has now said parliamentary authorities do not believe they would be allowed to accept the money.

“January 31st is a significant moment in our history as the United Kingdom leaves the EU and regains its independence,” Johnson’s office said in a statement setting out its plans to mark Brexit – a moment which will be celebrated


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