LONDON – Some British politicians are criticizing plans to silence Big Ben for four years during repairs to Britain's Parliament.
The bell has sounded the time from Parliament's clock tower since 1859, but on Monday it's due to fall silent while repair work is carried out on the Victorian clock and the tower.
It will not sound again until 2021, apart from special occasions such as New Year's Eve.
Parliamentary officials say the bell, whose bongs resound across a swath of central London, will stop striking "to ensure the safety of those working in the tower."
Cabinet minister David Davis says the long silence is "mad." Davis told LBC radio on Tuesday that "there's hardly a health and safety argument, it's replacing a bell."
Conservative lawmaker James Gray called the decision "bonkers."