John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has announced that the bells of Big Ben and the Great Clock at Westminster are to be silenced as a mark of respect during the funeral of Lady Thatcher on Wednesday, after leading Tories said they had discovered it going ding dong instead of bing bong on more than one occasion.
In a statement to MPs, Mr Bercow said the decision to silence the bells was taken following representations by a number of ardent Tory supporters who have accused Big Ben of anti-Thatcher sentiment in its striking of the hour.
However, anti-censorship campaigners have argued that Big Ben should be allowed to freely ding or dong without interference as a test of free speech.
Yesterday, the Metropolitan police issued a strong warning to chiming clocks to stay away from Margaret Thatcher’s funeral procession on Wednesday or face being arrested under a controversial law outlawing any dinging or donging that “may cause alarm”.
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