HC Deb 22 November 1982 vol 32 c578
23. Mr. Murphy

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on his recent visit to Mexico for the conference of cultural Ministers.

Mr. Channon

I attended the UNESCO world conference on cultural policies in Mexico City in July. The contributions made by some countries were dominated by political considerations, but on the whole the conference provided a useful opportunity for discussing a variety of cultural questions.

Mr. Murphy

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there are strong arguments for maintaining collections of world-wide significance, not necessarily within the country of origin? In the case of the Elgin Marbles, would not the provision of replicas be the solution?

Mr. Channon

I agree with my hon. Friend that there should be a number of world-wide collections. The British delegation made it clear that it is not the policy of Her Majesty's Government to invite independent institutions to break up their collections. To do so would require legislation. I doubt if this could be got through Parliament. Should any country wish to have replicas, the Government would consider sympathetically any such approach.