After an incoherent rambling about how the public should "bung a bob for a Big Ben bong" to mark the passing of Brexit without running it past anyone, Boris is having to backtrack.
It turns out that launching a crowdfunding campaign on the telly to get Big Ben bonging for a one-off event while restorations are still taking place is just as bloody stupid as you'd think, with the House of Commons effectively quashing Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plans to have the clock sound off at 11pm on January 31.
“The House of Commons authorities have set out that there may be potential difficulties in accepting money from public donations,” said the PM's official spokesperson, adding, "The PM’s focus is on the events which he and the Government are planning to mark 31 January. It’s a significant moment in our history and we want to ensure that’s properly recorded."
The cost of getting Big Ben to chime for a one-off occasion like this is estimated to be around £500,000 which is absolutely mental given than the 'event' will be restricted to those in the immediate vicinity. We all know what the bloody thing sounds like. Just use your imagination or pull up a YouTube video for Christ's sake.
"The commission believes it is important to weigh up the costs this would involve if Big Ben is to chime on 31 January," said Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle earlier this week. "You are talking about £50,000 a bong. We also have to bear in mind that the only people who will hear it will be those who live near or are visiting Westminster." So we're agreed that it's an absolutely obscene waste of money? Good.
Despite the facts being presented here, Nigel Farage insists that the lack of a bong come Brexit is a sign that "the Government are embarrassed by Brexit and not proud of it.” Not sure how much you donated to the bong cause, Nige, but if you say so.
Conservative Brexiteer Mark Francois dug deep into his pockets, contributing £1,000. Upon hearing the news that the plan could be scrapped, he said,"The money is literally pouring in and I cannot believe that if we hit the target the Prime Minister will abandon a campaign he himself effectively launched two days ago."