Big Ben won’t bong for Brexit, campaigners have conceded, after admitting they had failed to convince House of Commons authorities to allow the bell to ring.
The appeal raised £272,770, which will now be donated to the Help for Heroes military charity.
More than 14,000 Brexit supporters chipped into the fund after Boris Johnson suggested “we are working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong”.
However, there was no such plan and the House of Commons Commission estimated the cost of using the out-of-action bell could be as much as £500,000.
Government funding for the idea was ruled out after a meeting of the House of Commons Commission decided the cost of “£50,000 a bong” was too much.
But Tory MP Mark Francois disagreed and, alongside group Stand Up 4 Brexit, set up the ‘Big Ben must bong for Brexit campaign’.
The funding drive was cancelled at noon on Monday.
“The response from the British people has been fantastic and we are deeply grateful to everyone who donated,” former minister Mr Francois said.
“However, having made final attempts over the last several days to persuade the House of Commons authorities that Big Ben should chime, we regret to report that we have been unsuccessful and therefore we feel we can no longer ask people to donate.
“We officially closed the fund at noon today.”
He added that “even though Big Ben will regrettably not chime for Brexit” many people “will be celebrating the fact that we become a free country again” at 11pm on January 31.
That was “the greatest prize of all”, he said.
The famous bell was temporarily silenced in 2017 for the safety of workers involved in a four-year restoration scheme of the Elizabeth Tower.
GoFundMe said in terms of cash raised, the campaign was one of the most successful ever run in the UK.