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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019
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Big Ben to be silent during Margaret Thatcher's funeral

The bell of the clock tower was last silenced for former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

FOR THE FIRST time in almost 50 years, Big Ben’s bell will be completely silenced.

During the funeral proceedings for former prime minister Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday, the bell of the famous clock tower will be stopped completely.

The move was announced by the House of Commons speaker John Bercow today. He said he believes “profound dignity and respect can be expressed in and through silence”.

Bercow acknowledged the numerous representations he received “concerning how the House and parliament as an institution might best mark the occasion” of the death of Lady Thatcher.

“I have considered all of these, but I concluded that the most appropriate means of indicating our sentiments would be for the chimes of Big Ben and the chimes of the Great Clock to be silent for the duration of the funeral proceedings.

“I have, therefore, made the necessary arrangements to achieve this.”

The clock tower was last silenced – on purpose – for the funeral of wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill in 1965. It also underwent repairs for a time during the 1970s.

Thatcher is to be given a ceremonial funeral with military honours, which is one step down from a full state funeral.

A full dress rehearsal took place in the early hours of this morning.

Big Ben to be silent during Margaret Thatcher's funeral
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