Nigel Farage’s plans to set off a volley of fireworks to mark Britain’s departure from the EU have reportedly been hit by a stumbling block after he was refused permission to fire them from central London landmarks.
The Brexit Party leader is said to be planning a £100,000 “Brexit Celebration Party” in Parliament Square for the night of 31 January.
Mr Farage said the Leave Means Leave campaign group has been been given approval to hold an event in Parliament Square, which is reportedly set to include speeches, comedians and bands but plans to include fireworks look unlikely.
According to the Telegraph, Mr Farage and Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice applied to launch fireworks from a barge on the River Thames and St James’s Park, as well as the roof of a government department, but have not be able to get permission.
The newspaper reported Mr Farage as saying: “The plan was to have a short, dramatic five-minute firework display and everyone says no. We have just met obstacles at every moment of this.”
Firework displays aren’t allowed in St James’s Park because of their impact on wildlife, while a spokesman for the Port of London Authority said it was highly unlikely that such a request would be allowed because it would involve closing the River Thames in central London.
“It would take quite a few weeks’ planning,” he told Yahoo News UK. “It’s not something that can be done at the drop of a hat.”
Mr Tice has reportedly appealed for anyone with roof space nearby that could be used to launch fireworks to get in touch.
Around 20,000 people are expected to attend the event, which takes place from 9pm to 11.15pm.
Speaking on Radio 4, Mr Tice said: “We have got permission to have a celebration rally. We’ve got some wonderful speakers, lots of people asking now to speak.”
He said they had invited Boris Johnson and he was “delighted to hold the last speaking slot” for the prime minister.
Mr Tice also called for authorities to “get their act together” to ensure Big Ben can ring for Brexit.
A campaign is currently underway to raise the funds for the iconic bell to ring on 31 January – estimated to cost £500,000.
Big Ben has been silent since 2017 for renovation. Restoring the bell for this event was discussed at a meeting of the House of Commons Commission on Monday, but the move was ultimately ruled out after it was revealed it could cost £500,000.
Mr Tice told Radio 4: “Big Ben chiming is the symbol of the mother of all democracies and it just seems pretty feeble if we can’t organise for a bell to chime in a clock tower at this historic moment. Surely people can get their act together and get this organised.”