Keir Starmer gives ‘wholehearted support’ for Westminster Holocaust memorial
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Keir Starmer gives ‘wholehearted support’ for Westminster Holocaust memorial

Labour leader meets with co-chairs of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation ahead of an inquiry by a planning inspector

Proposed design of Westminster Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens
Proposed design of Westminster Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens

Sir Keir Starmer has given his “wholehearted support” to the proposed Holocaust memorial next to Parliament.

The Labour leader’s backing comes ahead of an inquiry chaired by a planning inspector, amid a legal challenge by heritage groups protesting the proposed location of the project.

On Wednesday, Starmer met with Lord Eric Pickles and Ed Balls, the co-chairs of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation, as he stressed the significance of the memorial, and hoped for its approval.

This comes amid a legal challenge brought against the government by the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust, protesting the location of the proposed memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens – a Grade II-listed park next to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.

Starmer said: “It is vital for our nation that we commemorate the six million Jewish men, woman and children murdered during the Holocaust. It is more important than ever that we educate current and future generations of the horrors of genocide and persecution.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer (Photo credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

The fight against intolerance and prejudice in our society, and the stain of antisemitism, goes on. So I offer my wholehearted support to the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre and its placement next to the heart of our democracy.”

“It is disappointing that, despite almost two years passing since the planning application was submitted, permission for the project has still not been granted. I urge the Planning Inspector to recognise the national significance of this project, as a reminder of what can occur when hatred takes hold in society.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl applauded Starmer for backing the memorial plan, saying: “It is very positive”.

The initiative has strong cross-party support, and we hope that after a prolonged process permission will finally be granted for it to be constructed. Its placement in Westminster will be a constant reminder of the importance to rid our society of antisemitism and other forms of prejudice.”

In November last year, the Government, which made the application for planning permission for the centre, “called in” the decision on the proposal, meaning it, instead of the local authority – Westminster City Council – would decide whether it should go ahead. The final decision is expected to be taken by Christopher Pincher, housing minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, following a public inquiry in October.

His intervention follows support for the memorial from former Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, as well as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Starmer’s predecessor as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Earlier in September, the High Court heard that Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick put himself in a “stark conflict of interest” over the handling of the application.

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