Big Ben sounds its world famous 'bongs' for the final time for four years

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Big Ben today sounded its final tolls before being silenced for four years for health and safety reasons ahead of a multi-million pound refurbishment.

MP joined Londoners and tourists outside Elizabeth Tower at noon as the bells chimed for the last time before the four-year renovation period commenced.

Parliamentary officials took the controversial decision to silence Big Ben amid concerns the loud bongs could damage the hearing of maintenance workers on the tower.

On Monday morning, crowds began gathering outside the Palace of Westminster to witness the final chimes until 2021.

Labour MP Stephen Pound had previously vowed to mark the event with several “like-minded traditionalists” by “standing with a bowed head in the courtyard”.

Big Ben: People gathered to film the Queen Elizabeth Tower before the bells are silenced (REUTERS)

The renovation period marks the longest time in the landmark’s 157-year history that it will be silent.

Following the announcement, Prime Minister Theresa May joined her colleagues in criticising the decision to silence the bells and calling for the House of Commons Commission to rethink plans.

The Commission, which is made up of MPs, officials, lay members, and chaired by Commons Speaker John Bercow, has said it will review the timescale for repairs.


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