No 10 says there are no plans to change the law for Parthenon Sculptures

“No Plan” to change the law preventing the British Museum from returning the Elgin Marbles to Greece.

Prime Minister George Osborne, president of the British Museum, was in secret talks with the Greek prime minister about the possibility of returning the Parthenon sculptures.

Downing Street said there are no plans to change the law that prohibits museums from disposing of objects from its collection except under very limited circumstances.


Parts of the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum in London (Matthew Fearn/PA)

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have no plans to change the law that prevents the removal of objects from the British Museum’s collection, except under certain circumstances.

“Our position on this matter has not changed. Decisions regarding the care and management of the collections are a matter for the museum and its trustees.

“The Parthenon sculptures are legally owned by trustees and operate independently of the Government.”

Negotiations between Mr Osborne and Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have been taking place in London since November 2021, according to the Greek daily Ta Nea.

A spokesman for the British Museum said it wanted a “new Parthenon partnership with Greece” but the organization operates by law “and we will not be dismantling our wonderful collection because it tells a unique story about our common humanity.”

The sculptures – decorating the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple in the Acropolis – were obtained by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century when he was British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and have been the subject of a lengthy controversy about where they should be displayed.

As well as the controversy over Parthenon sculptures, in recent weeks the Horniman Museum in south London has returned stolen bronzes from Benin City to Nigeria and the Wellcome Collection has closed its gallery. Medicine Man because it “sustains a version of medical history based on racist, sexist, and ontological language and theory”.

Downing Street said the public would “vote with their feet” if they didn’t like museums removing controversial objects from their collections.

“I’m cautious about commenting on how particular museums should display their collections, I think it’s the right thing to do for them,” the spokesperson said.

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“Obviously they will need to justify any decision made in public and the public will make a judgment based on a foot vote whether they think they have the right balance. are not.” No 10 says there are no plans to change the law for Parthenon Sculptures

Fry Electronics Team

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