Lord Frost wades into Elgin Marbles row as he urges handing them back to Greece in ‘grand gesture’

Lord Frost wades into Elgin Marbles row as he urges handing them back to Greece in ‘grand gesture’

Greek Foreign Minister hits back at Sunak as he meets Cameron

GB News
Oliver Trapnell

By Oliver Trapnell

Published: 14/12/2023

- 16:49

Updated: 14/12/2023

- 18:54

The Tory peer cautioned against a loan to Athens

Lord Frost has waded into the Elgin Marbles row as he has urged Rishi Sunak to return the artefacts to Greece in a “grand gesture”.

The Conservative peer argued the ancient sculptures housed in the British Museum were “a special situation” which required “a special solution”.

Cautioning against a loan to Athens which “keeps the issue and the arguments alive”, the former Brexit minister pressed for a permanent settlement with the formation of a new Anglo-Greek cultural partnership to the benefit of both nations.

He was speaking during a debate in the House of Lords after Rishi Sunak sparked a diplomatic row with Greece by refusing to meet Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, when he compared the artefacts’ removal with cutting the Mona Lisa in half.

Elgin Marbles and Lord FrostLord Frost wades into Elgin Marbles row as he urges handing them back to Greece in ‘grand gesture’Getty Images/PA

The latest incursion into the row comes after Rishi Sunak told Greece they need to admit that the UK owns the marbles before any loan deal can be agreed.

Speaking to reporters en route to the Cop28 climate summit in the United Arab Emirates, Sunak said: “When it comes to them our position is very clear as a matter of law the marbles can’t be returned and we’ve been unequivocal about that.

“And I think the British Museum’s website itself says that in order for the loans to happen the recipient needs to acknowledge the lawful ownership of the country that’s lending the things.

“The Greeks have not suggested that they are in any way shape or form willing to do that.


Elgin MarblesThe Greek Prime Minister wants the Elgin Marbles backPA

“Our view and our position on that is crystal clear: the marbles were acquired legally at the time.”

The diplomatic row over the ancient treasures was made worse after Sunak cancelled a meeting with the Greek prime minister just hours before it was due to take place, sparking a war of words between the two countries.

The Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis snubbed a proposed alternative meeting with Deputy PM Oliver Dowden and said he was “deeply disappointed” by Sunak’s abrupt cancellation.

He said: “I express my annoyance that the British Prime Minister cancelled our planned meeting just hours before it was due to take place.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos MitsotakisGreek Prime Minister Kyriakos MitsotakisPA

“Anyone who believes in the rightness and justice of his positions is never afraid of confronting arguments.”

British Museum chairman George Osborne warned earlier this month that he would actively pursue a loan deal with Mitsotakis to display the marbles in Athens.

He also said that negotiations would go ahead despite Sunak ruling out their return.

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