Just hours after the diplomatic row that broke out following British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s decision to cancel his meeting with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, British officials reportedly leaked to UK-based broadcaster Sky News that they were exploring ways to block the “export” of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
As Sky News reports “UK government officials are exploring legal ways that could block any export of the “Elgin Marbles” (the term used by the British to refer to the Parthenon Marbles).”
The report on Sky News says that the British government was mulling over the prospect of obstructing the transport of the Marbles to Greece, putting an end to the plan tabled by the President of the British Museum for a temporary loan.
Moreover, a senior Conservative official told Sky News that the President of the British Museum, George Osborn, was pushing a “bad deal” that makes his position “untenable,” adding that “he must go.”
According to the Sky News report, government officials are exploring legal solutions that could block any export of the Parthenon Marbles.
UK Opposition’s stance
According to the report, the leader of the Labor Party, Sir Keir Starmer, in a potential meeting with Mitsotakis, would say that he will not change the law – a 1963 Act prohibiting the British Museum from providing artifacts except special cases – regarding the Parthenon Marbles.
Nevertheless, a person close to Starmer told the Financial Times that “we support the existing law, but if there can be a loan agreement that is mutually acceptable to the British Museum and the Greek government, then we will not obstruct it.”
The Greek PM had expressed his displeasure Monday evening in a statement after his British counterpart cancelled their scheduled meeting.