A closer view of the Cenotaph War Memorial on a sunny day in Whitehall, London. Erected after the First World War (WWI) Remembrance Sunday uses the site annually to recognise Armistice Day. Taken 200919 SOURCE BFBS
UK

Ministers Will ‘Earnestly Consider’ New Law To Protect War Memorials

It comes after the Cenotaph in central London was sprayed with graffiti during protests over the weekend.

A closer view of the Cenotaph War Memorial on a sunny day in Whitehall, London. Erected after the First World War (WWI) Remembrance Sunday uses the site annually to recognise Armistice Day. Taken 200919 SOURCE BFBS

Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted the Government will “earnestly consider” a proposed new law to protect war memorials from being vandalised.

The Commons Leader said attacks on such sites are “contemptible” and he believes no MP would think differently on the issue.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has already offered her support to the proposed Desecration of War Memorials Bill, which would aim to make it easier to prosecute war memorial vandals.

Speaking in the Commons, Conservative MP Julian Lewis said introducing such legislation would “enable special circumstance and special penalties” to be considered when memorials are attacked.

Mr Rees-Moog responded: “The desecration of these sites is contemptible and there is no government, no minister, no member of this House who would think anything else and therefore, the Government will undoubtedly, earnestly consider any proposals that are made.”

The minister also said the Government takes racial inequality "with the utmost seriousness".

Veterans and soldiers helped clean graffiti off the Cenotaph in central London following demonstrations last weekend.

Responding to his Labour counterpart, shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz, Mr Rees-Mogg told MPs: "I would say, in relation to the Government’s record on race and faith and equalities, since 2010, a great deal has been done.

“So this is work that is under way within the Government.

"I think the Government is very well aware of these important and sensitive issues and is committed to improving equality in this country and takes the issue with the utmost seriousness.”

The debate comes after the toppling of the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol last weekend by anti-racism demonstrators.

Subsequent petitions have been made to remove similar memorials around the country.

Meanwhile, the statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Westminster was sprayed with graffiti over the weekend, as was the Cenotaph on Whitehall. 

Cover image: Library image of the Cenotaph in central London.

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