To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what maintenance work is planned on Big Ben this year; and if he will make a statement.
The mechanism of the great clock is subject to regular expert inspections and routine maintenance. Included in this year's programme is the replacement of the chime main wheel. The work is expected to start in April and to last about eight weeks. During the period the quarter hour chimes will be silent. The clock itself and the hour strike will not be affected.