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Amendment 2

Part of Parliamentary Buildings (Restoration and Renewal) Bill - Committee – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Altmann Baroness Altmann Conservative 4:45 pm, 22nd July 2019

Amendment 2 is in the name of my noble friend Lord Cormack, for whom I have enormous affection and respect. This Bill, on the restoration and renewal of Parliament, is hugely important; we all know that this project must be pursued. However, I would like to give an alternative perspective.

The memorial that is the subject of this amendment is not, as far as I envisage it, about war. Suggesting that it might be more appropriately sited in the Imperial War Museum suggests that it is about something other than what I believe it is intended for. The memorial is about democracy and the horrible consequences of the disintegration of democratic values. The site for this memorial was specifically chosen for its historical, emotional and political significance and is a reminder of the government-approved murders of millions of innocent citizens. It will symbolise our country’s commitment to remembering the men, women and children, whether they were Roma, gays, disabled people or Jews, who were murdered just because of who they were, not for anything they had done wrong.

I declare an interest, as my father was born in Vienna and my mother in Berlin. Both fled here in the 1930s while most of our family was killed in concentration camps. I am enormously grateful to this country for providing a safe haven for them. I am also grateful for the work carried out by so many people, including noble friends on these Benches and others outside Parliament, who wish to build a lasting memorial to the horrendous consequences, the damage that can be done, when democracy crumbles. The current trend towards Holocaust denial—