Outcry over proposal to move Pankhurst statue
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.”