Bong! Big Ben's four-year silence could end early after Commons agrees new health and safety review

The silencing of Big Ben’s bongs could be overturned after a review was ordered into the health and safety reasons behind the controversial decision.

Andrea Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, demanded the rethink at a meeting of the House of Commons Commission, on Wednesday evening.

Under health and safety rules, the 13-ton bell is being taken out of action to protect the hearing of construction workers on site.

MPs were furious when confirmation of the decision – dubbed the “silence of the bongs” - that Big Ben will not sound again regularly until 2021 emerged last month.

Ms Leadsom was challenged in the House of Commons whether it was “beyond the wit of man silencers to be worn” by workers near the Great Bell.

The Cabinet minister replied that she recognised there were “strong views” about the silencing of Big Ben.

She added: “It is a very important issue. The House’s Commission met last night and agreed to the cessation for the bells for the time being but also to look at whether there are other alternatives to leaving the bells off.”

A spokesman for the Commission added: “As the Leader of the House said in the Chamber, the Commission last night endorsed the decision to cease Big Ben’s chimes sounding during these essential works except for national events such as Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve.

“At the request of the Leader of the House, the Commission agreed that the Clerk of the House would investigate further the health and safety case for this decision and report back.”