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George Osborne set to DEFY Rishi in Elgin Marbles row as he pursues deal with Greek PM

George Osborne today said he would actively pursue a deal with the Greek PM, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, to allow the Elgin Marbles to be displayed in Athens.

The British Museum chairman said that negotiations would go ahead, despite a continuing row between Rishi Sunak and the Greek PM over ownership of the antiquities.

WATCH NOW: Elgin Marbles row

The Greek Prime Minister wants the Elgin Marbles backPA

A spokesperson for Starmer said the Labour leader would “not spend any time legislating on this matter” if he became PM but that he “wouldn’t stand in the way” of a deal between the British Museum and Athens.

Speaking on his podcast Political Currency with co-host Ed Balls, Osborne said his deal with Greece would allow the sculptures to spend time in both London and Athens with the intention of allowing “Greek treasures coming our way in return”.

“And that is, I think, something worth exploring,” Osborne said, “and we can go on doing it whether or not Rishi Sunak meets the Greek prime minister or not.

u200bPrime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis  arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London, to appear on the BBC One

Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis arriving at the BBC ahead of his interview discussing the Elgin Marbles


Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak cancelled a meeting with the Greek PM at the last minute


“In fact, if anything, things have been rather clarified by this week. We obviously know we’re not going to get any particular support from the Conservative government.

“But in fact the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, also said that while he supported the British Museum’s efforts, he wasn’t planning to change the law.

“And if you don’t change the law, then there is no prospect anytime soon of them just being resituated to Greece, returned with nothing, simply handed back, which anyway wouldn’t be a decision for the museum.

“And so to my mind, as chair of the British Museum, it is all the more reason to press on with our efforts to try and reach an agreement with the Greeks.”

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