HC Deb 03 March 2004 vol 418 cc966-7W
Miss Kirkbride

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations she has received from the Greek Government regarding the ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures. [157777]

Estelle Morris

Representations made to Government from the Greek Government have focused primarily on reuniting the Parthenon Sculptures in the planned new Acropolis Museum in Athens on a long term basis.

In giving evidence before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in June 2000, the Greek Government emphasised that their current case rested on the proposal for a change in location of the Sculptures, rather than ownership issues.

In October 2002, the Prime Minister of Greece presented the Prime Minister with a copy of a proposal for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles in Greece which suggested that the restitution of the Marbles he carried out in the form of a long-term loan from the British Museum to the new Acropolis Museum, "bypassing the issue of ownership".

The Government have stated that they consider the Parthenon Sculptures to be a matter for the Trustees of the British Museum who are independent of Government.