Walking to the House of Commons as Parliament returned from the Christmas recess, it was wonderful to see Big Ben beginning to emerge from the shroud of scaffolding.

Affectionately known around the world as Big Ben and shrouded in scaffolding since 2017, the Elizabeth Tower is being repaired from the gilt cross and orb at its tip, to the bottom of its 334-step staircase and was unveiled in time for us to celebrate the dawn of 2022.

The restoration works have been the largest and most complex conservation project in the Tower’s history, and have seen the clock tower restored to its former glory, as well as modernising and upgrading facilities to make it fit for the 21st century. These were vital works to ensure that this iconic building, situated on a World Heritage site, were safeguarded for future generations to visit and enjoy.

The Elizabeth Tower stands as a symbol of not only the United Kingdom but as an iconic symbol of democracy across the world.

The bells of Big Ben have been ringing for over 160 years, despite the effects on the building of bombing during the Second World War, as well as weather and pollution and it is a privilege to hear them again.