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Report: Britain’s Big Ben to be renamed Elizabeth Tower

June 2, 2012

LONDON: Britain’s famed Parliament clock tower Big Ben is set to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of the queen’s diamond jubilee, a report said yesterday.

Prime Minister David Cameron is among 331 lawmakers who have signed up to a campaign to bestow the tribute to Queen Elizabeth to mark her 60th year on the throne, the Daily Mail reported.

It mirrors an honour bestowed on queen Victoria – the first British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee, back in 1897 – after whom the square tower at the other end of the Houses of Parliament was renamed.

“It is great news that so many MPs from across the House are backing what would be a fitting tribute to the queen. I hope it will now move ahead,” the Mail quoted Cameron as saying.

The 96-metre (316-foot) tower is formally known as the clock tower but is commonly known as Big Ben after the huge bell that it holds, whose distinctive “bongs” sound out the hours in central London.

Lawmakers accepted that the iconic tower which looms over the 19-century Gothic revival Parliament would continue to be known colloquially as Big Ben, but said that its formal name should honour Queen Elizabeth.

The House of Commons Commission, the governing body of the British parliament, will meet by the end of June and is expected to agree on the renaming of Big Ben, the Daily Mail said.

Big Ben was in the news in January this year when the commission discussed how to manage a tilt affecting the tower.

The tilt is 0.26 degrees to the north west and has increased very slightly since 2003, although an expert study found it was unlikely to be a problem for 10,000 years.

Britain is holding four days of celebrations beginning today to mark Elizabeth II’s jubilee including a 1,000-boat river pageant and a star-studded concert.

- AFP


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