Celebrate Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a statue, urges MP

Richard Wheeler, PA Parliamentary Editor
·3-min read

The Queen’s forthcoming Platinum Jubilee should be marked with a statue of her in central London, MPs have heard.

Preliminary sketches have already been made for the monument, according to Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

The monarch has reigned for more than 25,000 days and will celebrate 70 years on the throne in 2022.

Speaking in the Commons, Sir David (Southend West) said: “The British Monarchists Society recently came to me with a project, which I’m sure the nation would back.

Sir David Amess (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)
Sir David Amess (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

“They would like a statue of the Queen erected to celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

“The royal sculptor Christian Corbet has made preliminary sketches of the monument, which is planned for a prestigious suitable position in the vicinity of Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Westminster.

“I believe that it would be possible to fund this statue through public subscription and I hope all colleagues will be supportive of the project.

“After all, our monarch has served our nation and the Commonwealth so well for nearly 70 years and she’s currently the longest-serving head of state in the world.”

Sir David also suggested a UK equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is campaigning for a statue of the singer Dame Vera Lynn to be commissioned and erected.

He explained: “I intend to meet the Prime Minister about this issue.”

Dame Vera died aged 103 in June.

Sir David earlier criticised recent protests against statues, warning against “imposing today’s values on the past”.

Monuments with links to the slave trade and other issues have come under intense scrutiny.

Black Lives Matter protests
Protesters throw a statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally, in memory of George Floyd who was killed while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis (Ben Birchall/PA)

Sir David said: “If there are demands for statues to be removed, for whatever reason, then it should certainly be done in the proper manner and I do not condone the violent, illegal removal of statues by the general public.”

He went on: “If we tear down statues because those that they depict have some unsavoury character traits in their life, where do we stop?

“Do we remove paintings from galleries by artists or ban television shows that feature actors or actresses that have a similar background?

“Do we demolish buildings that were built off the back of slaves or funded by people who made their money by things that we now find offensive?

“Statues don’t necessarily represent a whole person’s life or morals, they are more often than not erected to depict a certain period of an individual’s life or a specific event which they were involved in, which undoubtedly improved our country for the better.”

Sir David then went on to hail Winston Churchill for his leadership during the Second World War.

Culture minister Matt Warman said the debate on statues needs “more nuance, not less”, adding: “We believe that our history shapes us, we believe we are poorer if we seek to deny that history and we believe the right approach to statues – however contentious – is to retain and explain their presence.”

Mr Warman referred to statues of people who built their wealth and fame on the “morally repugnant” slave trade, adding: “As a confident and progressive country we should face those difficult facts squarely, we should not wipe them from the history books.”

Efforts should be made to contextualise and reinterpret such statues to allow the public to learn about them in their entirety, Mr Warman added.