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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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Related articles by Tom Pride:

Opinion poll – more bad news for fans of Thatcher

Miners agree to be beaten up today in honour of Margaret Thatcher

Witches outraged at being compared to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher

UK SINGLES CHART UPDATE – ‘Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead’ in at nr 10

Criticism as MPs mass debate over Lady Thatcher

Parliament to be privatised in Thatcher’s memory

Osborne claims Thatcher “over the worst” and well on way to “full recovery”

Fury as Lady Thatcher is accused of trying to bury bad economic news by dying

Government scraps plans for society to pay for Thatcher funeral after realising it doesn’t exist

Thatcher funeral guest Bernard Ingham accuses Hillsborough relatives of being ‘contemptible’

Right-wing press ‘accuse’ anti-Thatcher activist of having a boob job! (not satire)

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