Tory Spartan Mark Francois, possibly the most ironic surname imaginable for a man who holds such strong views on Europe, has announced that as Big Ben will not be sounded to celebrate the UK’s departure from the EU, he will commission a new bell and hold his own ‘ringing out’ ceremony.

He told reporters: ‘It’s a national disgrace that Parliament has chosen not to debate a motion that would have enshrined in law the ringing of Big Ben at 23.00 hours on January 31st. Therefore I have commissioned the forging of a new bell which I will personally ring on the night, when I will walk around Parliament Square dressed in a union jack suit and bowler hat.’

‘The bell will be made from 9 carat gold and is to be engraved with likenesses of Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, a joint of roast beef and my good self in full TA fatigues.’

‘We have set up a crowdfunding page and I am inviting contributions from the public to help reach our target of £20,000. The page has been live now for twenty-four hours and we have already had a pledge of £3.57 from one high profile donor who runs a successful pub chain. So we’re off to a great start. The public can make contributions by visiting the website:’

Mr Francois has written to every museum in the UK offering to gift them the bell so it may be displayed in posterity, but at the time of going to press it is understood the only one to express an interest has been The National Museum of Scrap Metal.