28 Nov 2023

Elgin Marbles row is ‘minor thing’ compared to ‘big international issues’, Tory chair of Culture, Media and Sport Committee says


A new row has blown up over the Parthenon Sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles, which Greece wants Britain to return.

The Greek Prime Minister met opposition leader Keir Starmer on Monday and was supposed to meet Rishi Sunak today, but Downing Street abruptly cancelled the talks after Kyriakos Mitsotakis appeared on television, comparing the removal of the sculptures to cutting the Mona Lisa in half.

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Mitsotakis had reneged on a promise not to talk publicly about the marbles during his visit, something Greece disputes.

The sculptures were removed from the Parthenon by the British diplomat Lord Elgin more than 200 years ago and are now in the British Museum.

Dame Caroline Dinenage is Conservative chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.