British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted defeat in his efforts to crowdfund up to £500,000 (about R9.3m) to allow Big Ben to chime to mark Brexit on the night of January 31.

He claimed earlier this week that the British government was "working up a plan so people can bung a bob for a Big Ben bong" after he stopped short of authorising public funds to cover the cost of a temporary fix to allow the bell, which has hung silent since 2017 owing to refurbishment work, to ring.

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