'Bonkers' to silence Big Ben's bongs for four years It is "entirely bonkers" and "ridiculous" that BigBen's famous bongs will be silenced for four years next week as major conservation work is carried out, a Tory MP has said.
James Gray, who sat on the administration committee which first approved the work, told the Daily Telegraphhe regretted the committee's decision to give its backing and there was never any indication it would mean Big Ben being out of action for so long. He said: "This is entirely bonkers. It is ridiculous to silence the bell for four years. I am very sceptical about the whole thing. "What is the point in putting in a lift that will only go as far asthree quarters of the way up?" The former shadow Scottish secretary said it was right that construction workers should be protected from the regular, deafening "bongs". But he added: "Big Ben isterribly important to the mental wellbeing of the nation. Why can't it ring out from 5pm to 7am when building work has ceased for the day?" Labour MP Stephen Pound, meanwhile, told coach bags on sale the Daily Mail: "They kept the coach outlet locations near me bells tolling through coach outlet atlanta international school the Blitz. "The Luftwaffe could not stop it but health and safety has. There has to be a way around this." The bongs will fall silent after sounding at noon on Monday, August 21, and are set to begin again regularlyin 2021, although they will still ring out for important national events such as New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday. It will be the longest period Big Benhas been silenced in its 157 year history. The13.7 tonne Great Bellwas last stopped for maintenance in 2007 and before that was halted for two years in 1983 for refurbishment, but has been stopped on a number of other occasions since it first sounded in1859. Steve Jaggs, keeper of the Great Clock, said: "Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project. As keeper of the Great Clock, I have the great honour of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering is in top condition on a daily basis.
"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. "Members of the public are welcome to mark this important moment by gathering in Parliament Square to hear Big Ben's final bongs until they return in 2021." As well as conservation work toElizabeth Tower, the Great Clock will be dismantled coach outlet locations wisconsin piece by piece and its four dials will be cleaned and repaired.
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