(Greece) – Several British Members of Parliament have introduced a bill that will return a series of marble statues from the Parthenon that have been sitting at the British Museum, back to Greece. Dubbed the “Elgin Marbles” after Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin (Lord Elgin), who obtained a permit from the Sublime Porte, who ruled Greece at the time. This permit, which was granted in 1801, led to the removal of the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon to the United Kingdom. This occurred back when Greece was still ruled by the Ottoman Empire. Since that time, the removal of these marble statues from the Parthenon has been controversial.
Now, a new bill that has been prepared by members of the British Parliament from several different parties across the United Kingdom is calling for the return of the marble states to Greece. This year marks the 200th anniversary of their removal from the Athens Acropolis. This bill, called the Return to Greece Bill, is being introduced by Mark Williams, a Liberal Democrat MP and also backed by Jeremy Leroy, a Conservative deputy. It is also being backed by ten additional members of parliament from several parties, including the Labour party, Scottish National Party, or SNP, and Plaid Cymru.
Mark Williams was quoted in a British newspaper as saying, “These magnificent artefacts were improperly dragged and sawn off the remains of the Parthenon.his 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. It’s time we engaged in a gracious act. To put right right a 200-year wrong.” Lord Elgin removed them from Greece and then later sold them to the British government. They’ve been housed in the British Museum ever since.
Greek officials have yet to release a statement outlining their reaction. However, the Greek government has been calling for their return. In the past, the British Government has maintained that Lord Elgin acquired the sculptures from the Ottoman Empire through legitimate means and has yet to return them to Greece.