Boris Johnson to strike conciliatory note on Brexit Day after row over chimes of Big Ben

Boris Johnson is set to mark Brexit Day with a speech stressing national unity, in a move away from divisive rows over whether Big Ben should chime.

The Prime Minister will attempt to bring both Leavers and Remainers together as Britain departs the European Union on January 31, striking an optimistic rather than celebratory tone.

A No 10 source said: “Different people will want to mark the 31st day in different ways. The Prime Minister’s job is putting the past three years of rancour behind us and moving the country forwards, together, to a bright future.”

Brexiteers have demanded a range of celebrations, with Nigel Farage trying to hold a “party” in Parliament Square. He has asked the public to submit Brexit-themed words set to popular tunes for a singalong at 11pm.

Other ideas have included a national holiday, a Festival of Brexit, and commemorative coins.

Mr Johnson backed calls for Big Ben to strike but the campaign turned to embarrassment when £150,000 was raised by the public in two days then Commons officials refused to allow it. 

Big Ben has been silenced during refurbishments and it would cost up to £500,000 to install a floor and striking mechanism in time for Brexit Day.

However, an insider said the mood in Government was far removed from any desire to upset those who voted Remain by staging a triumphalist event. 

“Brexit divided the country and there is no wish to antagonise those people who felt unhappy about the result of the referendum,” said the insider.

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