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Big Ben

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 7th January 2020.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

To ask the hon. Member, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the Commission has received a request from the Government to arrange for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK's departure from the EU.

Photo of Paul Beresford Paul Beresford Conservative, Mole Valley

The House of Commons Commission has not received a request from the Government to arrange for Big Ben to chime to mark the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Commission is aware of EDM No. 2, tabled by the right hon. Member for Rayleigh and Wickford, which calls on Mr Speaker and the House Authorities to make arrangements for Big Ben to chime at 11.00 pm on 31 January 2020.

The Commission is further aware that an amendment in the names of Mark Francois and other signatories has been tabled to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill that moves the following clause;

Exit day chimes of Big Ben

(1) The United Kingdom leaves the European Union, in accordance with Article 50 (2) of the Treaty on European Union, at 11.00pm Greenwich Mean Time on Friday 31 January 2020.

(2) The Speaker of the House of Commons and the Corporate Officer of the House of Commons, together with any other relevant parliamentary authorities, must make arrangements for the occasion in subsection (1) to be marked by the sounding of the hourly chimes including eleven strikes of the principal bell (Big Ben) of the Great Clock in the Elizabeth Tower of the Houses of Parliament at 11.00pm Greenwich Mean Time on Friday 31 January 2020.

In May 2018, the Commission agreed that, during the Elizabeth Tower refurbishment project, Big Ben should sound only for Remembrance Sunday, Armistice Day and over the New Year.

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