Out­cry over pro­posal to move Pankhurst statue

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - TALIA SHADWELL talia.shadwell@reach­plc.com Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

A pro­posal to shift a statue of suf­fragette Em­me­line Pankhurst off Par­lia­ment grounds has sparked an out­cry.

The Em­me­line Pankhurst Trust, run by for­mer Con­ser­va­tive MP Neil Thorne, has put in a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to move the me­mo­rial to the suf­fragette and her daugh­ter Christa­bel from its Par­lia­ment site to a site at Re­gent’s Univer­sity.

Crit­ics say the statue’s place­ment in Vic­to­ria Tower Gar­dens, near the House of Lords, was cho­sen by suf­fragettes in 1920, and ar­gue the trib­ute to their leader should not be moved from the site they chose.

The pro­pos­als also in­clude the cre­ation of a new me­mo­rial sculp­ture to Em­me­line Pankhurst by An­gela Con­ner in Can­ning Green, Par­lia­ment Square.

The pub­lic have un­til early Septem­ber to share their views on the pro­posal, which was sub­mit­ted to West­min­ster City Coun­cil last month.

West­min­ster’s Labour coun­cil­lor for Churchill ward An­drea Mann said she did not sup­port the statue be­ing moved, as the site was cho­sen by the suf­fra- gettes, who also paid for the statue. Mov­ing it on the cen­te­nary of women’s suf­frage was “ex­tremely mis­judged,” she said.

“It is only right that the woman who led the fight for women’s votes is hon­oured pub­licly in the gar­dens be­side the Houses of Par­lia­ment, where visi­tors to our seat of gov­ern­ment can see her, and her daugh­ter Christa­bel, vis­i­bly rep­re­sented.

“The pop­u­lar­ity of the re­cently in­stalled Mil­li­cent Fawcett statue in Par­lia­ment Square has thrown a spot­light on the need to hon­our.”

Caro­line Cri­ado Perezne, who spear­headed the Fawcett statue cam­paign, tweeted that mov­ing the Pankhurst ef­figy would be “an act of van­dal­ism against women’s his­tory”.

West­min­ster City Coun­cil Cabi­net Mem­ber for Plan­ning and Pub­lic Realm, Cllr Richard Bed­doe said. “We have re­ceived an ap­pli­ca­tion to re­move the statue and re-erect it in the court­yard of Re­gent’s Univer­sity to ac­com­mo­date a new statue of Ms Pankhurst Par­lia­ment Square.

“This is cur­rently un­der pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and will be con­sid­ered at a fu­ture plan­ning com­mit­tee. The coun­cil can­not com­ment fur­ther at this time.”

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