London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government is considering a crowdfunding campaign to allow Big Ben to chime on January 31, the day that the country is due to leave the European Union.

The 13.7-tonne bell has been largely silent since 2017 while renovation works are carried out on the Elizabeth Tower which houses it, sounding only for important events such as New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Johnson said one of the main problems was that it would cost £500,000 (Dh2.38 million) to allow Big Ben to sounded at 2300 GMT on January 31, the moment Brexit is officially due to take place, but were looking at whether people could donate cash to pay for it.

“But we are working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong,” Johnson told the BBC in an interview.

Lose weight

Johnson also said he wants to lose weight in 2020, but will not do “Veganuary” — the popular practice of becoming vegan in January — as it would take too much concentration and mean giving up cheese.

“I had thought of it but it requires so much concentration.

I do take my hat off to vegans who can handle it,” he said during an interview with BBC TV having confessed he wanted to lose some pounds in the next year.

“You can’t eat cheese if you’re a vegan. It’s just a crime against ... cheese levels,” he added.