'I’m pro-heritage': PM Boris Johnson against Oxford's decision to remove Rhodes statue

WION Web Team London Jul 03, 2020, 12.12 PM(IST)

Cecil Rhodes Photograph:( Reuters )

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Oriel College, Oxford,  had said last month it wanted to remove the statue of Rhodes after a campaign by those who argued it glorifies racism and is an insult to black students.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that a statue of 19th century colonialist Cecil Rhodes should not be pulled down from an Oxford University college because history should not be edited.

Also Read: Oxford college wants to remove statue of colonialist Rhodes after #RhodesMustFall spreads

Oriel College, Oxford,  had said last month it wanted to remove the statue of Rhodes after a campaign by those who argued the statue glorifies racism and is an insult to black students.

Johnson told an English newspaper he did not want to see the statue pulled down.

It would, he said, be like "trying to bowdlerise or edit our history ... like some politician sneakily trying to change his Wikipedia entry," the Standard reported.

"I’m pro-heritage, I’m pro-history, and I’m in favour of people understanding our past with all its imperfections," he said.

Johnson urged people not to be reckless, warning that more local lockdowns could follow citing example of Leicester.

"The public need to stay alert and realise that the threat is not over. Follow the guidance and behave responsibly so that this virus cannot re-emerge in communities across the country," he said.

The statement came before the opening of pubs, restaurants and other businesses in England this weekend.