‘They belong to Greece’ Jeremy Corbyn VOWS to return ELGIN MARBLES if he becomes PM

Posted on Jun 5 2018 - 7:56am by admin

The Labour leader has long campaigned for the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece, and declared in a 2014 debate in the Houses of Parliament that the items had been “stolen”.

Speaking with the Greek newspaper Ta Nea, Mr Corbyn said: “It is very clear to me that the Parthenon Sculptures belong to Greece.

“They were made in Greece and that is where they were for thousands of years until they were taken by Lord Elgin.”

Pointing to the UK’s colonialist past, he added: “As with everything stolen or removed from a country that was in the possession or colony – including objects looted from other countries in the past – we should also begin constructive talks with the Greek government on the return of the sculptures.”

He concluded he would commence “constructive talks” with the Greek government to begin the process of returning the artefacts upon entering Downing Street.

A Labour spokesman commented on Mr Corbyn’s statements, saying: “Jeremy was stating his long-standing personal view that the Parthenon statues were made in and belong to Greece.

“The Elgin marbles are an emotive issue and it is in the interests of both Britain and Greece to have a constructive dialogue about them, which represents all views.

“Jeremy was right to call for constructive talks between the UK and Greek governments.”

The sculptures were removed by Lord Elgin from the Parthenon at the top of the Acropolis in Athens and brought to the UK between 1799 and 1810 after obtaining permission from the Ottoman Empire which ruled Greece at the time.

The Greek government has made formal applications to the UK for the sculptures to be returned, and have argued the Ottomans had no legal right to sanction their removal.

Yet numerous MPs and academics believe the acquisition of the sculptures was legal and argue they have contributed greatly to the education of the British public.

A Government source slated Mr Corbyn’s statements, saying: “We don’t share the anti-historic views that Mr Corbyn and others have on the left, which is that you should disavow yourself of everything that has happened in your country’s history, whether you were responsible for it or not.

“You might as well say to any foreign country that wanted to: come and bring your removal trucks to the national museums and strip them out.”

The Government’s position on the issue was outlined in a briefing paper published in June 2017, which noted: “The Government’s position continues to be that ‘issues relating to the ownership and management of the Parthenon sculptures are matters for the trustees of the British Museum’.”

However the British Museum has indicated the return of the sculptures remains highly unlikely.

They wrote: “The trustees hold the whole of the British Museum collection under the terms of the British Museum Act 1963, for the benefit of the public.

“This legislation prohibits the trustees from permanently disposing of objects unless they are duplicates of others already in the collection or are ‘unfit to be retained and can be disposed of without detriment to the interests of students’.”

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