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UK Politics

Plan to charge for Big Ben tours sparks ding-dong with MPs


Tourists are to be charged to climb the Big Ben clock tower for this first time in its 150-year history.

Each visitor will have to pay £15 from July to climb the 334 spiral steps in the national landmark which plays a key role in New Year's Eve celebrations. The charge is part of plans to save £40m by 2015.

Tory MP Robert Halfon condemned the "outrageous decision". He wrote on Twitter: "This is OUR Parliament. UK public already pay for upkeep via taxes."

A Commons spokesman stressed the fee would cover costs of clock tower tours, adding: "We are not going to charge people to come into Parliament."