Andrew George joins Stephen Fry in support of returning the Parthenon Marbles

Andrew George, Lib Dem MP for St Ives, joined forces with Stephen Fry earlier this week to debate the return of the Parthenon Marbles. The Marbles – which were stolen acquired from Athens by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century – comprise a large portion of the Parthenon Frieze, the metopes and some of the statues that formed the east and west pediments of the building and are currently displayed in the British Museum. Most of the remaining marbles are displayed in the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Here’s how Andrew’s website reports the event:

Mr George, who chairs Marbles Reunited, was invited to take part in the event by actor Stephen Fry and he said he was delighted with the outcome which ended with a majority for the motion that they be returned to Greece of 384 to 125.

Prior to the debate, which was hosted by Intelligence Squared and chaired by the television and radio broadcaster, Zeinab Badawi, 196 were in favour of the marbles being returned and 202 were against.

Mr George said: “It was a good natured and fair debate in which the issues were very well aired and the audience itself were extremely well informed.

“It was a privilege to be asked by Stephen to join him in the debate and it is reassuring that when people hear the issues and understand what we are calling for, our reasonable and modest request gathers support.”

The opponents to the motion were Professor Tristram Hunt MP – Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central and Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto – History Professor at Notre Dame University.

Interested readers can read the Guardian’s write-up of the event here, my piece in support of the Marbles’ return over on my blog, as well as an interesting recent piece from the Economist on the subject.

* Nick Thornsby is a day editor at Lib Dem Voice.

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  • Of course you could always send them directly to Berlin and miss out the middle man.

  • Richard Church 14th Jun '12 - 7:47pm

    Nick Clegg supported this cause when he was a Euro MP. Probably still does for all I know.

  • I was embarrassed to be British when I visited the marvellous new Acropolis Museum in Athens this Easter. How much better for the marbles to be there, excellently displayed in an excellently curated museum.

  • Nick T Nick Thornsby 14th Jun '12 - 9:32pm

    Spot on, Tim.

  • No debate, they belong to Greece. In times of trouble you help your friends, and you start by giving them back what is rightfully theirs. Whether they then choose to put them on display for tourists to pay to see, or whether they decide to offer them on the global antiquities market is entirely up to them.

  • Michael Clements 15th Jun '12 - 10:20am

    When the marbles were brought to the UK the Greece was not in a position to protect its heritage and Lord Elgin had some justification for taking them. Times have changed and with an assurance that these archaeological treasures will be looked after properly a case for their return has been made. Look at it this way: their loss to us will be compensated by showing our critics abroad that Britain does not lack honour and morality

  • Although given the Acropolis Museum contains the original ‘cariadnids’ female statues that supported the entrance to the Athenian Treasury which are so damaged by acid rain if Lord Elgin hadn’t brought the marbles from the Ottoman rulers at the time would they still be around. Elgin also brought one of the Treasury statues and the ones that now stand on the Acropolis are replicas of the one in the British Museum.

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