Big Ben will bong an hour early on December 31 to celebrate Britain’s total exit from the EU single market.
The House of Commons authorities confirmed to the Telegraph that the bell will sound once at 11.00 PM, midnight Brussels time, when the transition period with the European Union ends. Big ben will then ring twelve times at midnight to bring the nation into the new year as per tradition.
It’s a far cry from this time last year, when the UK was gearing up to leave the EU, albeit in name only due to the transition period.
Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Big Ben bell, is undergoing a massive restoration. At the time, the 14 tonne gong and the flooring beneath it had been removed.
Brexit campaigns and patriotic MPs like Mark Francois bandied together to raise money for quick restorative work to get the bell back in time for Brexit day on 31 January.
However, parliamentary rules against donations prevented payment and the last-minute works, even though the Prime Minister himself had endorsed the project telling Brits to “bung a bob in for a bong”.
The £150,000 raised was instead donated to Help 4 Heroes. Appropriately, the first time the bell was sounded since its restoration earlier this year was for Armistice Day.
In the end, an underwhelming projection of the iconic clock was shone onto Number 10 Downing Street to accompany a forgetful ceremony.
Big Ben is now back in place and the nation is ready to be brought into a new era, with a nice big bong and some bangs from the fireworks on the Thames.
The significance of the bong remains to be seen however, it may be that Britain remains tethered to the EU.
Trade talks are picking up momentum. The EU claimed yesterday to have made “good progress” and The PM has asked Commission President, Ursula von Der Leyen for help in reaching compromise, particularly on the slippery subject of fish.
There’s the prospect of sweeping EU controls over state subsidies and how the British Government regulates the economy, meaning that while Britain would leave the EU single market, the final Brexit delivered would fall short of expectations.