Churchill Statue to Be ‘Unboxed’ Ahead of French President’s Visit to London

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: A protected statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square on June 14, 2020 in London, England. Several statues and monuments were protected with scaffolding ahead of this weekend's protests. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)
Hollie Adams/Getty Images

The statue of Sir Winston Churchill is set to be unboxed in time for the arrival of French President Emmanuel Macron, after nearly a week of being hidden from public view in a dystopian grey tomb at the behest of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

President Macron, who has pledged to not remove any historical monuments in France, will come to the British capital on Thursday to present London with the Légion d’ honneur award in honour of the city’s courage during the Second World War.

Mr Macron will meet Prime Minster Boris Johnson to mark the 80th anniversary of General Charles de Gaulle’s Appeal of June 18th speech from Broadcasting House in London, in which he urged his countrymen to resist the National Socialist occupation of France.

Members of Parliament urged the local government of London to free the monument to Sir Winston, as it would be shameful to have the man who rallied Britain to victory against the Nazis covered up during such an anniversary.

“About time. It is madness. It shouldn’t have been covered in the first place. It is time to get back our self-respect,” Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told The Telegraph.

“The moment we surrender to mob rule, that’s the moment the mob takes over. We can’t surrender to the mob. That’s exactly what Churchill stood for,” Duncan Smith added.

The grandson of Winston Churchill and Conservative MP, Sir Nicholas Soames, said: “Excellent. What very good news and the correct judgement. I am delighted.”

The emancipation of Churchill from his imprisonment may be short-lived, however. The statue may be entombed again after the French leader departs from the city if it is deemed that the figure is still at risk of being defaced by Black Lives Matter agitators.

Other historical monuments to Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington, and the nation’s war memorial, the Cenotaph, are expected to remain boxed during the visit.

The monument honouring Britain’s wartime leader was boxed up last week under the directive of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, following several acts of vandalism by Black Lives Matter protesters, who scrawled “racist” on the statue.

The leftist mayor also announced that the city would be launching a review of all statues and historical monuments in London to determine whether they are in line with the city’s “diversity”.

Khan went on to suggest that supposedly racist monuments should be replaced with statues honouring LGBTQ+ and BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) figures.

The Labour Party as a whole decided to follow suit, announcing that all 130 local councils controlled by the left-wing party will launch a review of all historical monuments under their jurisdiction to determine their “appropriateness”.

In stark contrast to the approach of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has done little to protect British monuments — outside of penning an editorial piece over the weekend — the leader of France announced that no statues will be removed, despite pressure from Black Lives Matter activists.

On Sunday, Macron said: “The republic will not erase any trace, or any name, from its history … it will not take down any statue.”

Nevertheless, statues have been defaced in France including — unfortunately given the timing of tomorrow’s 8th anniversary of his speech to the French resistance — two memorials honouring Charles de Gaulle in France. Both were defaced with paint, with one featuring the word “slaver”.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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