In a shock report in 'Campanologists Weekly', it has been revealed that the famous 'Big Ben', used for well over a century to ring in the New Year will be silent.
The custodian of the clock, Sir Ali Bongo OBE, is reported as saying:
"Unfortunately, cracks have been discovered in the bell earlier this year and it is thought to be due to metal fatigue. The HSE (Health & Safety Executive) have been closely monitoring the fissures in the monster and have slapped a 'PLEASE DO NOT USE' label over him."
"Gordon 'Bennett' Brown, another monster, admitted:
"We knew about these cracks when I was still a humble Chancellor of the Exchequer and I originally set aside some money to send it to a bell foundry in Gloucester to be remanufactured, but since being handed the reins by Tony, I have had to spend the money I set aside for more important things like Northern Rock."
"I did make contingency plans though I have had the metal compound analysed and it has been found to be of the same make up as one of Lord Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone's Bendy Buses' and could break at any minute. For this year only, I have enlisted the help of the BBC to find archive material of Big Ben's bongs."
Marcel Marceau, a quietly spoken BBC sound engineer, whispered:
"I have spent hours trawling though miles of film footage, but as most of it has been purloined by the Queen for her YOUTUBE slot, I could not find any bongs. We shall have to make do with beeps this yeaqr; the best I could find was a clip of Ozzy Osbourne appearing in BBCs Deadringers where 12 swear words have been beeped out in one minute."
"A 'Deadringer' for a dead ringer!" he joked.
The Queen must have been aware of it too, for she hinted in her Christmas speech that there WOULD be CHANGES!