The timekeepers at Elizabeth Tower had to abandon attempts to renovate its clock because they lacked the expertise, one of a litany of blunders over its restoration.
Parliamentary authorities admitted last night that the cost of the project, which doubled two years ago, had again risen, from £61.1 million to £79.7 million. The total is £50 million more than the original estimate.
The House of Commons Commission blamed “the discovery of extensive Second World War damage, pollution and asbestos”.
A breakdown of the overrun is understood to have identified a failed attempt by the Commons’ specialist clock team to restore the timepiece’s mechanism as a significant cause. The mechanism had to be sent off-site, adding almost £2 million to the bill.