Campaigners say allowing the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures kept in London with those still in Athens could be a diplomatic coup for the UK as it negotiates Brexit. A cross-party group of MPs has launched a fresh bid to return the statuary to Greece on the 200th anniversary (1816-2016) of the British Government’s decision to buy them. Campaigners have said this could help the UK secure a better deal during the Brexit talks with the EU.
The issue has long been a source of tension between, on one side, the UK government and the British Museum, where the 2,500-year-old marbles are currently on display, and, on the other, Greece and international supporters of the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures.
About half the surviving sculptures were taken from the Parthenon in Athens by Thomas Bruce, the seventh Earl of Elgin, and later bought by the British Government after parliament passed an Act that came into force on 11 July, 1816. The other half are currently in the Acropolis Museum in Athens.
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