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The UK Government Plans to Make It Harder to Remove Public Monuments to Controversial Figures

One minister referred to demonstrators as “baying mobs.”

Naomi Rea

The UK government could make it more difficult for local authorities to take down public monuments to controversial historical figures.

A UK minister announced the decision to introduce new legislation surrounding monuments in an op-ed in the Telegraph on Sunday, in which he argued that public monuments should not be removed at the behest of a “baying mob.”

The secretary of state for communities, Robert Jenrick, wrote that the UK’s monuments are a valuable part of its history, and that the recent swell of protests surrounding certain monuments seek to “erase” that history.

Jenrick argued that “due process” should be respected before monuments are removed, and said he would be changing the law to protect historic monuments, with decisions to remove them to require planning permission and consultation with the local community but also federal government approval. If passed into law, it means that the go-ahead to remove a statue will need to be granted by the sitting secretary of communities. This law would apply to 20,000 statues across England.