§ Mr. Terry Walker
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the breakdown of Big Ben.
§ Mr. Shore
The clock stopped at 3.45 a.m. on 5th August. The mechanism was examined that afternoon by an expert from the company which maintains the clock.
The quarter bell mechanism is seriously damaged, but none of the bells has been damaged. The cause of this accident is not yet known.
I am happy to say the clock is now working again and it is hoped that the hour bell "Big Ben" will be working again in about a fortnight. It is not yet known how long it will take to repair the quarter bell mechanism and restore the chimes.