British MPs to unveil bill seeking return of Parthenon Marbles to Greece
A bill prepared by a group of cross-party MPs in the UK will seek to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece 200 years after they were removed from the Athens Acropolis, according to a report in the British press.
According to the Independent, the Parthenon Sculptures (Return to Greece) bill will be introduced by Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams, backed by Conservative deputy Jeremy Leroy and another 10 MPs from Labour, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru.
“These magnificent artefacts were improperly dragged and sawn off the remains of the Parthenon,” the newspaper quoted Williams as saying.
“This bill proposes that the Parliament should annul what it did 200 years ago. In 1816 Parliament effectively state-sanctioned the improper acquisition of these impressive and important sculptures from Greece,” he said according to the report. “It’s time we engaged in a gracious act. To put right right a 200-year wrong.”
So far, there has been no reaction from Greek officials.
The Marbles were removed from the Parthenon temple by Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin, who then sold them to the British government.
The British Museum has repeatedly rejected calls to return the sculptures, saying that they were acquired by Elgin through a legitimate contract with the Ottoman Empire which ruled Greece at the time.