The Independent is reporting that Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party in the UK, has said that if he were elected prime minister he would open talks with Greece to return the Parthenon Marbles to their country of origin. Corbyn made the comment in an interview with the Greece newspaper Ta Nea. The Parthenon Marbles, also known as the “Elgin Marbles,” were removed from Greece by the British ambassador Lord Elgin in the early 1800s, when Greece was under Ottoman rule. Since then they have been housed at the British Museum. In recent years, Greece and a chorus of international supports have called for the return of the marble sculptures. Read an excerpt from the Independent article below, or the full text here.
Ta Nea reported: “In the exclusive interview given to Nea, Jeremy Corbyn agrees that, if elected, he will begin the return of the Parthenon sculptures to our country.”
Mr Corbyn reportedly said: “They were made in Greece and have been there for many centuries until Lord Elgin took them.
“As with anything stolen or taken from occupied or colonial possession – including artefacts looted from other countries in the past – we should be engaged in constructive talks with the Greek government about returning the sculptures.”
Mr Corbyn has long been a supporter of the marbles’ repatriation but this is the first time as party leader that he has made his intent so clear.
The UK government’s position is that the ownership of the sculptures is a matter for the trustees of the British Museum, according to a House of Commons briefing paper.
Image via The Independent.