MPs this week reaffirmed their commitment to build a new £100 million Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre next to Parliament, just weeks after Jewish peers openly blasted the idea.
Conservative Bob Blackman MP and Labour’s Ian Austin MP were elected co-chairs of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the new National Holocaust Memorial, to push through plans to build in Victoria Tower Garden, a Royal Park.
There is a growing body of objection to the plans, most notably from Jewish peers, some of whom lost family in the Shoah. They have said the money would be better spent on Holocaust educational programmes across the country.
Writing in The Times earlier this month, peers including Lord (Michael) Grade, Lord (Monroe) Palmer and Baroness (Ruth) Deech said there were already excellent Holocaust centres and memorials around London, including Hyde Park and the Imperial War Museum, just a mile away.
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However, the APPG – which elected Tory lobbyist Lord Polak as treasurer and Ruth Smeeth MP as secretary – said it fully endorsed the location because “there is no better location to remember the murder of six million Jewish citizens” and others.
It also said the learning centre would examine the Holocaust and other genocides
“through British eyes,” describing it as “an exciting and important asset to the Gardens, which will be much improved physically by the initiative”.
After the inaugural meeting, attended by 50 parliamentarians, Austin said: “It is a very exciting project and I’m delighted that so many will be working to support the new Memorial and Learning Centre here in Westminster, at a site of such importance not just to our politics, but at the heart of our national life as well.”
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