Crowdfunder for Big Ben Brexit bong reaches £100k

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The official GoFundMe page set up to raise money for Big Ben to chime on Brexit day has surpassed £100,000 – reaching 20 per cent of the £500,000 target.

The fundraiser was set up by campaign group StandUp4Brexit and Conservative MP Mark Francois after officials in the House of Commons ruled out tolling the iconic bell because of the cost.

Since it was established at 7pm last night, the page has received more than 6,000 donations.

However, organisers face a tight deadline to reach the target as, due to “technical reasons”, the money needs to be raised by this weekend.

This is because time is needed for work to be done on the Elizabeth Tower in order for the bell to sound – a new temporary floor would need to be fitted and the clapper would need to be restored.

But Mr Francois told talkRADIO's Julia Hartley-Brewer that he was “pretty confident” that it would be achieved.

If the target cannot be reached on time, the organisers have pledged to donate the funds to military charity Help for Heroes – or, if they exceed the target would donate the surplus to the same charity.

Fundraisers may face another obstacle though, with authorities in the Commons warning that "any novel form of funding would need to be consistent with principles of propriety and proper oversight of public expenditure".

The House of Commons Commission added that it would be an "unprecedented approach".

Boris Johnson was the first to suggest a crowdfunding effort, saying the public could "bung a bob for a Big Ben bong"

But in an apparent backtrack, his official spokesman said today: "The House of Commons authorities have set out that there may be potential difficulties in accepting money from public donations."

"I think the PM's focus is on the events which he and the government are planning to mark January 31.

"It's a significant moment in our history and we want to ensure that's properly recorded."

Read more

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