Liz Truss ‘doesn’t support’ exchange deal with Greece over Elgin Marbles

Liz Truss has rejected a suggestion made by former Tory Chancellor and British Museum chairman George Osborne that there is a “deal to be done” with Greece over sharing the Elgin Marbles. 

Truss PMQs Starmer

The Elgin Marbles – also called the Parthenon Marbles – have been housed at London’s British Museum since 1817, after being removed from the Parthenon temple on Athens’ Acropolis by Scottish nobleman Lord Elgin, who was then Britain’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. 

The marbles have become one of the most high profile and controversial cases of cultural restitution. 

Part of the Elgin Marbles Parthenon Marbles

Appearing on GB News yesterday, Liz Truss was asked if she agreed with Osborne’s belief that a deal could be done. “I don’t support that,” she responded. 

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Greece, said that he would raise the marbles’ return on a visit to Britain later this year.

In June this year, during an interview with Andrew Marr on LBC, Osborne said: “[A] deal is to be done where we can tell both stories in Athens and in London, if we both approach this without a load of preconditions, without a load of red lines… Sensible people could arrange something that makes the most of the Parthenon Marbles, but if either side says there’s no give, there won’t be a deal.”

In August, the British Museum’s deputy director, Jonathan Williams, also suggested a “cultural exchange” could be reached. 

“The sculptures are an absolutely integral part of the British Museum,” he added. “They have been here over 200 years.” But, he continued, “we want to change the temperature of the debate.”


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