Bolton shrugged off the petition to raise £500,000 to get the bell-ringing deck re-installed to allow Big Ben to chime on Brexit Day and came up with their own bash. On January 31 at exactly 11pm, a bell will chime in the town to signal the occasion and Bolton Town Hall will be lit up in the Union Flag colours of red, white and blue. The Union flag will also fly on every single civic building and civic flagpole across the borough for the quintessentially British celebration.
The decision was given the green light by Bolton Council at last night’s meeting.
UKIP councillor Sean Hornby said the question of celebrations “had been a long time coming but is here at last” in a reference to the 58 percent of Bolton residents who voted to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum.
Council leader David Greenhalgh replied simply with: “What a good idea. Yes, is the short answer.”
“We will go a little bit further and ensure the union colours of red, white and blue are displayed on the front of the town hall on the evening itself.”Bolton shrugged off the petition to raise £500,000 to get Big Ben to ring (Image: GETTY)Bolton will have the Union Jack portrayed on their town hall (Image: GETTY)
It comes as backbencher Mark Francois wrote to the Prime Minister to call for MPs to be given a free vote on the Big Ben row this week.
He said on Monday that MPs should be given a chance to overturn a decision by the House of Commons Commission that reactivating the bell in Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower was too costly to be justifiable.
Downing Street officials said Mr Johnson had yet to receive the letter but indicated that the issue was a matter for parliamentary authorities rather than Number 10.
Mr Francois, who has been leading a campaign to make the bell ring as the UK quits the EU at 11pm on January 31, wrote: “We now know that the estimates of the House of Commons Commission, of a cost of £500,000 to make Big Ben chime, was deliberately inflated.
READ NOW: UK aims to secure FOUR post-Brexit trade deals by end of 2020 [NEWS]Mark Francois wrote to the Prime Minister to call for MPs to be given a free vote (Image: GETTY)
“Even using the commission’s own recent figures, including a two-week delay to the refurbishment work, the cost would now be £320,000, a figure which we are already over 80 per cent of the way towards achieving.”
Mr Francois pointed out that an appeal on the GoFundMe website set up by the Stand Up 4 Brexit pressure group had raised more than £265,000 by last night.
He urged the Prime Minister to “finish” the job he had started by last week appealing for people to “bung a bob to make Big Ben bong.”
Mr Francois wrote: “Bluntly, you started this, so I am calling upon you to help finish it.
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“You can do this by tabling a parliamentary motion to facilitate a free vote this week by MPs on whether or not Big Ben should chime for Brexit, at a cost of up to £320,000 with little or no likely cost to the taxpayer.”
He added: “Big Ben is the nation’s clock and the most iconic timepiece in the world, and it is not owned by the Government.
“However, given its location at Westminster, MPs are effectively its guardians and therefore they should have the final say on whether or not it chimes to mark out historic departure from the EU, something I hope we can all agree we are never likely to repeat.”
Brexit Day is just eight days away.