Ding dong over Brexit big bongs as bellringers and bishops denounce plan for ...

Big Ben's bongs will be silenced on Brexit Day but campaigners want to raise £500,000 to get it going at 11pm on January 31

Big Ben's bongs will be silenced on Brexit Day but campaigners want to raise £500,000 to get it going at 11pm on January 31

Clergy and bell ringers are up in arms over Brexiteer plans to peal church bells to mark Britain's 'independence' as it leaves the EU on January 31 while Boris Johnson's 'bung a bob for a Big Ben bong' plea also floundered today.

Crowdfunders have set up multiple fighting funds but none have raised more than £200 after Downing Street failed to launch an official campaign.   

And Leave campaigners' calls for churches to chime across the nation when the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on January 31 were also being met with opposition by Church of England bishops and vicars.

Bell-ringing representatives also released a statement to say they do not endorse the act to be carried out in churches 'for political reasons' such as Brexit - Brexiteers have threatened to ignore them and 'do it anyway'.

The 128-year-old Central Council of Church Bell Ringers said in a statement: 'There are historical moments for which bells have been rung, [the] end of world wars for example. However, the central council, as a principle, does not endorse bellringing for political reasons'.

While the Bishop of Burnley, the Rev Philip North, told The Times: 'The purpose of the church bell is to call people to worship and I regret any attempt to politicise this lovely tradition. I think we should be ringing bells on February 1, not to celebrate Brexit but to call people together to pray for our nation at this critical time: for unity, compassion and justice'. 

Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson, said: 'Two thirds of the population never voted for Brexit in the first place. It's deeply divisive to ring church bells for something like this. Churches are there for the whole community, not for a political faction to crow over people they have beaten.' 

Kent Rev Andy Bawtree says he would like to ring his bells in River, Kent, but has to ask his parishioners first.

Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson, said allowing church bells to ring on Brexit day would amount to a 'political faction crowing over people they have beaten'

Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson, said allowing church bells to ring on Brexit day would amount to a 'political faction crowing over people they have beaten'

Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, is also opposed to Brexit Day bell ringing

Kent Rev Andy Bawtree says he would like to rig his bells but has to ask his parishioners first

Rev Philip North, Bishop of Burnley, is also opposed to Brexit Day bell ringing but Kent Rev Andy Bawtree says he would like to but has to ask his parishioners first

Lib Dem peers says 'triumphalistic behaviour' on Brexit day could be reminiscent of 1930s Nazi Germany

During a debate last night, Lord Greaves claimed people were crying themselves to sleep at night over the UK's withdrawal from the EU, as he warned against 'triumphalistic behaviour' on Brexit Day

During a debate last night, Lord Greaves claimed people were crying themselves to sleep at night over the UK's withdrawal from the EU, as he warned against 'triumphalistic behaviour' on Brexit Day

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves claimed that any official celebrations to mark Brexit could lead to scenes reminiscent of Nazi Germany.

The veteran peer said many Remainers and EU citizens were still crying themselves to sleep over Brexit.

'They are feeling a sense of loss which is akin to bereavement and a grieving process has only just begun,' he said.

Lord Greaves added: 'In these circumstances, triumphalistic behaviour, festivals of Brexit and all the rest will simply make things worse.

He went on: 'I am fearful that on January 31 some things may happen in some places which could be reminiscent of things happening in Germany in the early 1930s.

'I am worried about this, because there is that sentiment amongst a hostile minority of the population.'

 

Rev Janet Allen, vicar at the church of St Peter & St Paul in Swaffham, told the Eastern Daily Press: 'Brexit has been such a divisive issue that it would be deeply inappropriate.'

Campaign group Leave.EU is leading calls for the ringing of church bells and said: 'Just as we did to mark the Allies' victory in Europe in 1945, we're calling on patriots to ring the bell of their local church at 9am on Saturday February 1 to celebrate Britain's newfound independence,'

But as vicars and bell-ringing groups appearing to be opposed a spokesman added: 'If the powers that be don't like it? We'll do it anyway.' 

Big Ben has been silenced since 2017 with renovations under way, but ardent Brexiteers have called for the work to be paused so the bell can ring in the new relationship at an estimated cost of £500,000.

The Prime Minister said on

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