Countdown clock to be projected onto Number 10 to mark Brexit day

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the Stormont Parliament Buildings in Belfast

"This is something completely new, a new path that Britain's going on, and I think it should have been marked with chimes".

"But people can only be brought together if we start with a common starting point, which is we are leaving the European Union".

On Friday, Mr. Johnson's office tried to strike a balance and his officials announced a relatively low-key commemoration. In addition to the clock, the Union Jack will be flown from all the flagpoles in Parliament Square and a laser show will be performed in the evening.

The announcement isn't likely to end the controversy over the celebration.

A special 50p coin will also enter circulation to mark the occasion.

Boris Johnson appears to have admitted defeat after calling for Big Ben to bong on January 31. The world-famous bell in the parliament's Elizabeth tower has been silent since August 2017 while undergoing repairs, however, while Brexit supporters want it to sound on January 31, the House of Commons rejected the idea.

So far the government has refused public funds to ensure that Big Ben, which is now being renovated, can ring out at the moment of Britain's departure.

Parliamentary officials say it is not worth the cost, which could come to 500,000 pounds ($650,000).

"Just as we did upon news of the Allies' victory in 1945, let's celebrate our new-found independence!", they said.

Flu activity remains high - HPSC
It is comparable to last flu season, where at this time a year ago there had been seven flu-related deaths and 14 ICU admissions. And approximately 7 per cent of working adults and 20 per cent of children aged under five years get flu each year.

At first it looked like the effort might work.

The prime minister said on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday that the government was "working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong" and "looking at whether the public can fund it".

Sir Paul Beresford told MPs in Parliament on Friday that: "The costs associated with striking Big Ben on Remembrance Sunday and New Year's Eve in 2019 were £14.2k including Value-Added Tax on each occasion".

The Commission also said that donations raised through the campaign could not be accepted.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who is chairman of the commission, said: "You are talking about £50,000 a bong". Parliament's spokesperson reportedly said that there "may be potential difficulties" in accepting money from the public. Yet, they want to raise money for a bell chime.

But Downing Street has tried to distance itself from the campaign, with a spokesman number 10 who insists that the matter is for parliamentarians and that the prime minister's focus is on the government's plan to mark the day of departure.

Meanwhile, supporters of staying in the European Union have been less vocal in outlining how they plan to mark the day.

Stand Up 4 Brexit's "Big Ben must bong for Brexit" campaign had raised £153,000 of its £500,000 target from nearly 10,000 donors on the GoFundMe website by Friday morning.

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