Parthenon Sculptures

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 27th June 2022.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the Government's policy is on the (a) ownership and (b) home of the Elgin Marbles; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Conservative, East Worthing and Shoreham

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what discussions Ministers in (a) her Department or (b) other Government Departments have had with their Greek counterparts on the ownership and location of the Elgin Marbles; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Parthenon Sculptures in the British Museum were legally acquired under the laws pertaining at the time and are legally owned by the Trustees of the British Museum, which is operationally independent of the Government. Decisions relating to the care and management of the museum's collections are a matter for the Trustees of the British Museum. The Government fully supports the position taken by the Trustees of the British Museum.

DCMS ministers have not had any recent discussions on this matter with Greek counterparts. When the Greek Prime Minister called on the Prime Minister in November last year, Mr Mitsotakis raised the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures. The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s longstanding position that this is a matter for the Trustees of the British Museum. There have been no subsequent ministerial discussions on the Parthenon Sculptures, although we continue to talk to colleagues in the Greek government on wider issues of cultural co-operation.

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