July 25, 2005

Early Day Motion on the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:03 pm in Elgin Marbles

Eddie O’Hara MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in parliament about the Parthenon Marbles. EDMs are a way in which members of parliament can both gauge the level of support for proposals. Eddie O’Hara has long been a supporter of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Parliamentary Information Management Web Site

Early Day Motion
EDM 665

O’Hara, Edward

That this House is aware that the Parthenon sculptures currently displayed in the Elgin collection in the British Museum are integral architectural components of the Parthenon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; believes that the traditional arguments for retaining the sculptures in the British Museum have now been discredited or removed and that the onus of justification is now with those who wish to keep them apart from the Parthenon rather than with those who wish to see them re-united with it; recognises that if the Parthenon cannot be brought to London it follows that the Parthenon sculptures should be returned to Athens; notes the progress on the building of the new Acropolis Museum with a gallery purpose-built to offer a single visual experience of both the Parthenon and its sculptures in the one place in the world where this is possible; and urges the Government to initiate the process whereby the Parthenon sculptures currently displayed in the British Museum may be returned to Athens in time for their display in the Acropolis Museum when it is opened.

The following MPs have signed this EDM:

  1. O’Hara, Edward
  2. Meale, Alan
  3. Corbyn, Jeremy
  4. Jones, Lynne
  5. Hancock, Mike
  6. McDonnell, John
  7. Caton, Martin
  8. Simpson, Alan
  9. Efford, Clive
  10. McCafferty, Chris
  11. Etherington, Bill
  12. Marris, Rob
  13. Battle, John
  14. Borrow, David S
  15. Lepper, David
  16. Barrett, John
  17. Galloway, George

After this original EDM, Bob Spink MP proposed an amended version as follows.

Parliamentary Information Management Web Site

Early Day Motion
EDM 665A1

Spink, Bob

leave out from House to end and insert `believes that the Parthenon sculptures currently displayed in the Elgin collection in the British Museum are best retained within the British Museum, with copies made available for the Parthenon UNESCO World Heritage site.’.

Essentially, Bob Spink’s amendment tries to reverse the main intention of the original EDM – It still accepts many of the facts (which can not be disputed) but instead suggests as a conclusion that the marbles ought to remain in the British Museum, rather than being returned to Athens.

The following MPs have signed this amended EDM:

  1. Spink, Bob
  2. Wyatt, Derek
  3. Loughton, Tim
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  1. Jenni Horder said,

    08.11.05 at 6:11 am

    Surely the establishment of the Parthenon as a UNESCO World Heritage Site gives true cause for the return of the Parthenon or Elgin Marbles to their rightful and dignified place as a part of the history of Greece. They are most certainly not a part of British History , except that part of British history which we should wish to put behind us – i.e. the collection of artifacts from ancient sites. These aquisitions were rightly excused as a means to preserve the valuable pieces of history but this reason is now itself history. If we truly meant to preserve the ancient architecture we should be keen to return the marbles now; the failure to do so puts severe doubt upon the original reasons for their removal. Let us move on from the ways and thoughts of aquisitive collectors of the past. Their work, admirable in its way, has done its job of preservation. Now it is our turn to make sure that that good work was not in vain. Move on and dignify Britain’s work in World Heritage over and above the insular thoughts of British Heritage.

  2. Matthew said,

    08.14.05 at 9:39 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, with what you are saying.
    What was done by Elgin might well have been acceptable at the time he did it, but the world has changed greatly since then & the current actions of the British Museum ought to be judged now by today’s standards & not propped up by referring to what the believe were Elgin’s original intentions (& if one reads his letters, his intentions were rarely as admiral as he later portrayed them.)

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