In a statement today, it has been announced that Big Ben will shortly be dismantled and then sent to Brussels as a leaving gift to the European Union.
Until now, it has been thought that scaffolding had been erected around the bell tower for routine repairs to be carried out to the bell and the clock mechanism, but it has now been revealed that the full deconstruction is due to begin shortly.
According to documents that have been seen by Southend News Network, a replacement tower will be constructed next to the Houses of Parliament that ‘reflects the multicultural values that make up modern Britain, while forming part of the wider renovation work taking place at the House of Commons and the House of Lords.’
Insiders have already hinted that the top of this new bell tower could include a ‘dome-like structure.’
The statement added: ‘On March 31st 2019, Big Ben will be officially unveiled in its new Brussels home close to the Place de Branleur, around 300 metres from the main headquarters of the EU.’
‘It will be a permanent reminder of the United Kingdom’s time in the bloc, and a parting act of friendship to let them know that they can look forward to a future of co-operation and harmony.’
‘France sent the Statue of Liberty to the USA, and so we hope that this gesture will have a similar impact and legacy that lasts for centuries to come.’
Due to the age and mechanisms of the tower holding Big Ben, an agreement has been signed for the British government to supply a team of four engineers to maintain the tower in its new home at a cost of £15m per year.
When asked for more details about this arrangement, Brexit Secretary David Davis said that it will be funded from the existing foreign aid budget, with the £92m cost for moving the tower being met by an adjustment in the NHS forecasted fiscal projection for 2018/2019.