Big Ben tower 'sound and stable'
Published 18/10/2011 | 18:47
MPs have been reassured that Westminster's clock tower - housing the famous Big Ben bell - is not going to collapse.
Tory Greg Knight, MP for East Yorkshire, asked the House of Commons Commission when and how the "structural soundness and stability" of the clock tower had been assessed.
Mr Knight's question followed the revelation that the tower is sinking unevenly to the ground, causing the 96-metre tower to lean north west at a rate of 0.9mm per year.
Lib Dem MP John Thurso, representing the commission, was able to offer reassurance.
He told Mr Knight: "A report by expert advisers concluded in 2009 that the tower was structurally stable.
"There are regular inspections of the tower, the most recent, of May 2011, confirming the tower remains in a sound and stable condition."
The tower, which was built following the 1834 fire which destroyed the old palace buildings, tilts 0.26 degrees to the north west.
The leaning Tower of Pisa tilts by five degrees - a mark it will take the Westminster landmark another 10,000 years to reach.