“If we can lend treasures to hostile Russia then we can loan Parthenon Sculptures to our friends in their place of origin”
British Museum accused of snubbing the Greeks
The MP who chairs the British campaign for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, Liberal Democrat Andrew George, criticised the British Museum for its decision to snub the Greek request for the return of the Sculptures and for lending them instead “to a country which has backed rebels who kill British citizens”. Andrew George chairs the British Campaign Group Marbles Reunited and has advocated the return of the Sculptures to Athens.
Mr George said, “British Museum Director, Neil MacGregor, justifies his decision by claiming that these Sculptures should be ‘shared and enjoyed by as many people…as possible”. But these Sculptures have not been ‘shared and enjoyed’ by the Greeks for over 200 years, since they were purloined in a dodgy deal by Lord Elgin during a period when Greece was occupied by the Ottomans!
“I sense that the British Museum’s grip on the Sculptures is weakening. If Britain did the decent and gracious thing, and returned the Sculptures, the Greeks have made clear that they would willingly loan many other Greek artefacts and great works to Britain so that they could be ‘shared and enjoyed by as many people…as possible’”.
He recently raised the question of their return in Parliament. He has also engaged in debate on the subject; joining Stephen Fry to succeed in a debate to persuade a large London audience that returning the Sculptures would be “a decent and gracious act”.