Big Ben's Ayrton Light to be switched off temporarily


Big Ben's Ayrton Light to be switched off temporarily

London landmark Big Ben will fall silent for four years from Monday as a political revolt rumbles on over renovations that will rob Britain of a cherished symbol at a time of national uncertainty.

As part of the works the clock housing Big Ben will be dismantled and each cog examined and restored.

May joined other politicians who have protested at the news that the great bell, which has rung every hour for most of the past 157 years, would cease its bongs to ensure the safety of workers carrying out renovations on the tower.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has also criticized the decision and asked parliamentary officials to review the plans.

But starting Monday, Aug. 21, Big Ben will stop ringing.

'There seems to be a management failure here and MPs seem to have been left out of this.

Plans were already in place for the bell to chime on New Year's Eve and Remembrance Day.

He signalled it could be hard to get Big Ben bonging sooner than 2021 as the clock that drives the bell is being dismantled, overhauled and tested, which will take at least two years.

Earlier this year, Downing Street said Britain would leave the European Union "when Big Ben bongs midnight" on March 29 2019, the deadline for the two-year Article 50 withdrawal process.

'Even if it is more expensive, if it is done in half the time everyone benefits'.

"The clock's keeper Steve Jaggs told BBC" This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home - the Elizabeth Tower".

The Elizabeth Tower, which is 96 metres high, is the most photographed building in Britain. It would be very unusual if at midnight on that day it does not chime out, very freaky.

The £29 million renovation includes the installation of a lift and repairs to the clock's hands, mechanism and pendulum.

It was expected to cost £29 million but MPs have raised concerns that the bill could soar to £60 million.

The proposals were signed off by several committees, including the Commons commission, chaired by the Speaker, John Bercow, in 2015 - though some MPs say it was not made clear how long the stoppage would last.