Minister suggests chimes of Gothic masterpiece could be used on ITV and BBC while London tower is silenced for repairs

It is a building of such majesty that Hitler is said to have ordered the Luftwaffe to avoid it so it could be shipped to Germany and reassembled, brick-by-brick, in the Third Reich.

Having outlived the Führer, Rochdale’s splendid town hall is being put forward for a different honour – as a stand-in for Big Ben while its London clocktower undergoes renovation.

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