|Local MPs in Ding Dong Battle Over Big Ben|
Rupa Huq and Steve Pound take very different stance on silencing of the chimes
Two local MPs have become involved in a bit of ‘ding dong’ over their response to the decision that the famous chimes of Big Ben should fall silent for the next four years while restoration of the palace of Westminster takes place.
The Parliamentary authorities decided to take the step for health and safety reasons with the well-being of construction workers taking precedence over keeping the famous ‘bongs’ sounding. They will not be heard again until 2021.
A smattering of Parliamentarians turned up to mark its last ringing including Ealing North MP Steve Pound who had been threatening to stage a vigil. He remarked, “It is a desperately sad moment and you don't know what you have got until it has gone. It is the passing of something that means a great deal to many people.”
Rupa Huq MP for Ealing Central and Acton meanwhile commented, “What it actually means is that an old clock needs fixing. I think we need to get a sense of perspective. There are much worse things occurring in our world than to see this as a cause for national mourning.”
While the final chimes rang out at midday there was a mini media scrum in the grounds of the totemic landmark. Steve Pound shed a tear for the cameras by taking the action of pulling out what Dr Huq has described as an oversized handkerchief. Although she was present at the vigil she claims that she was onsite in any case and that she wouldn’t have come in particularly to pay her respects.
She said, “We shouldn’t lose sight of the reason why this is being done. It’s to protect the hearing of the workers doing the restoration. We’ve seen with Grenfell Tower what happens when you cut corners with health and safety and scrimp on the sort of protections that the extreme right sees as meddlesome red tape. MPs are always seen as self-obsessed and insular. I honestly can’t see any of the general public being too bothered about what appears to be a Westminster obsession. Our constituents need us to be fighting for them not defending some ancient tradition for the sake of it”.
She condemned Theresa may for being quicker in her condemnation of the silencing of Big Ben than President Trump’s stance on the racist violence at Charlottesville adding jokingly, “When I saw the headline ‘May speaks up for bongs’ I had to say I hadn’t had her down as that type.”
August 23, 2017