Churchill's statue being covered during Macron's visit would 'not be a great look'

17 June 2020, 18:27

The Churchill statue has been boarded up since 12 June
The Churchill statue has been boarded up since 12 June. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said that it would "not be a great look" if the Churchill statue is still boarded up when French President Emmanuel Macron visits the UK on Thursday.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "My office has been in touch with the Mayor's office around the Churchill statue and I'm hopeful that the Mayor will remove that.

"It is particularly important that this should happen given that President Macron will be visiting shortly to mark the famous address from De Gaulle.

"To have Churchill covered up at that point would not be a great look and I think the Mayor appreciates that."

Earlier on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Mayor of London said: "The covering around the Winston Churchill statue will be removed for the visit of President Macron to London."

The monument in Parliament Square was boarded up on 12 June after it was sprayed with graffiti during the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The words "was a racist" were daubed on the monument during the protests.

Far-right protestors came to "protect" the statue over the weekend
Far-right protestors came to "protect" the statue over the weekend. Picture: PA

Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously said it was "absurd and shameful" that the statue could be attacked.

In a series of tweets, he called Sir Winston "a hero" who saved the country from "fascist and racist tyranny".

In the days after the statue was boarded up more than 100 arrests were made during clashes between Black Lives Matter protestors and right-wing groups, who gathered in Parliament Square to "protect the statues".

Mr Macron is due to visit London on Thursday where he will meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson and attend an event with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

He will meet with the Royals at Clarence House in London to celebrate the 80th anniversary of General Charles de Gaulle's appeal to the French population to resist the German occupation of France during the Second World War.

A spokesman for the Number 10 said the French president would not be subject to the UK's 14-day quarantine rules.

Mr Macron falls within the exempted category of "representatives of a foreign country or territory travelling to undertake business in the UK", he added.