Lord Frost, one of the architects of Brexit, has proposed the Parthenon Marble should be returned to Greece also advocating for closer Anglo-Greek cultural ties in an interview with The Guardian.
The former British diplomat, who served as a Minister of the UK Cabinet between March and December 2021 emphasizes, “Britain should participate in a pan-European effort to repatriate the Parthenon Marbles to Greece,” adding that the UK should try to foster stronger diplomatic and cultural ties between the two nations, a move that would be bolstered by a significant gesture like the repatriation of the artifact to Greece.
His proposal involves returning the Marbles to Athens and showcasing them at the Acropolis Museum, marking the first time they were in Greece since the early 1800s when they were seized by Lord Elgin.
“In my view, the time has come for a grand gesture, and only the government can make it. Let’s return the Parthenon Sculptures as a one-off gift to Greece, but as part of a new, broader Anglo-Greek cultural collaboration,” Lord Frost declared during a debate in the House of Lords.
The chief architect of Brexit, however, clarified that the agreement would be a “one-off” and would not open the door to other long-standing claims for objects in British Museums, such as the Benin Bronzes from Nigeria, removed by British forces in 1897 and central to a repatriation campaign.
“Such a collaboration should definitively override the rights and wrongs of individual acquisitions,” emphasized Frost. “It should also be clear that it sets no precedent for return claims for any other museum exhibits.”
The repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles triggered a diplomatic row last month between the two countries following UK PM Rishi Sunak’s cancellation of a scheduled meeting with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who was on a two-day official visit in London, when the latter told BBC in an interview that keeping the Marbles in London was akin to “to cutting the Mona Lisa in half”, dubbing it “artistic barbarism”.