Elgin Marbles row explodes as ex-Labour MP lashes out at plans to send sculpture to Greece: 'An unacceptable precedent!'

The British Museum say talks with Greece about a return have been 'constructive'

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A former Labour MP has criticised the British Museum after they’ve admitted to having discussions with Greece to handover the Elgin Marbles after 200 years.

Talks have been “constructive”, according to the British Museum.

The 2,500-year-old sculptures were removed from the Acropolis in Athens by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century, when he was the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.

The 17 artefacts were bought by the British government, which passed them on to the British Museum where they remain one of the most prized exhibits, making up 30 percent of the Parthenon sculptures of ancient Greece.

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has on many occasions called for the marbles to be returned, even offering to lend some of his country’s other treasures to the British Museum in exchange.

On Wednesday, a British Museum spokesman said: “We’ve said publicly we’re actively seeking a new Parthenon partnership with our friends in Greece and, as we enter a new year, constructive discussions are ongoing.”

Speaking on GB News Simon Danczuk, who was MP for Rochdale from 2010-2017, said he was outraged by the suggestion, telling Esther McVey and Philip Davies, the historic marbles should stay in the UK.

“I think we should keep them. I really do.

“It is setting a precedent that is just not acceptable.

“We are where we are in history, and I think we should maintain what we’ve got, look after it well, we present it very well. Economically it’s very positive for the United Kingdom.

“This is where they are and this is where they’ll stay.”

But historian Tessa Dunlop criticised Mr Danczuk’s stance.

She said: “It’s making us look like we’re behind the curve. I don’t know if you know your history. They are the soul of Greece!

“How can you suggest they belong in a dusty hall in the British Museum?!”