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Former UK Culture Minister: Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece

A former UK culture minister said that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece, The Art Newspaper reported.

Ed Vaizey, the Conservative minister for culture from 2010 to 2016, revealed that he now supports the unification of the Parthenon Marbles in an episode of the Hope & Dread podcast hosted by Charlotte Burns and Allan Schwartzman.

Vaizey said that the “debate has really moved on” in regards to the fifth-century works that have been housed at the British Museum since they were stolen by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century.

“I think I would support the return of the [Parthenon] marbles now,” he said: adding: “Having said that, it is extremely hard to know where to draw the line.”

“The first argument is that the Marbles sit in an institution that is a world museum visited by millions of people from all over the world who can benefit from seeing the Marbles in a way they perhaps couldn’t if they were based in Athens,” Vaizey said.

He also questioned what would happen to other contentious artifacts housed in the British Museum.

“If you give the Marbles back, at what point do you stop?” Vaizey questioned.

After falsely arguing that Lord Elgin legally took the Parthenon Marbles, he said “It is so obvious to me that they are so woven into Greek identity, it would be a wonderful thing if they could be returned.”

Newly declassified documents recently threw light on the question of whether the British Museum could restitute the Marbles, together with other antiquities and art.

Last month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shifted the decision for returning the Marbles to the trustees of the British Museum after meeting with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.


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