Sadiq Khan ‘deeply concerned’ Westminster Shoah memorial plans may be snubbed
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Sadiq Khan ‘deeply concerned’ Westminster Shoah memorial plans may be snubbed

London Mayor throws weight behind planned Holocaust learning centre next to parliament, but says he's worried the local authority will reject the proposal

Sadiq Khan speaking at the 2016 Yom HaShoah ceremony shortly after being elected as London Mayor
Sadiq Khan speaking at the 2016 Yom HaShoah ceremony shortly after being elected as London Mayor

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has thrown his weight behind the proposed Westminster Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre – while saying he’s “deeply concerned” plans may be rejected by the local council.

A planning application for the memorial, which has been backed by more than 170 MPs and peers, is currently being considered by Westminster City Council.

Critics of the proposal, including Historic England and the Royal Parks, which manages the site have cited the impact the memorial will have on the park – fearing the memorial’s construction could compromise flood defences and cause “substantial harm” to the Westminster World Heritage Site.

Khan, who chose to attend a Yom HaShoah event as his first official engagement as mayor, gave his backing to the plans, saying: “As the years pass and we see the scourge of antisemitism and hate crime increasing once again, it becomes ever more important that we work hard to ensure younger generations learn the lessons from history.

“The National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre will be hugely important to London” and a “powerful symbol” against racism.

“That’s why I’m so deeply concerned that this vital centre may not be approved.”

Calling for people to support it, Khan, who is seeking re-election next year, said the site would be a “fitting tribute to the victims of the Holocaust”.

Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, London. Photo credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Welcoming the support, Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “Alongside excellent Holocaust education initiatives already being delivered across the country, this memorial will enable a much wider audience to learn about the past, Britain’s relationship with the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance today.

“As survivors become fewer and frailer, and the Holocaust moves further into history, our duty to educate and raise awareness of the Holocaust becomes increasingly important, and this memorial will do just that, sending a clear signal for generations to come of the important place the Holocaust has in our nation’s history and memory.

“We welcome the unflinching support of the Mayor of London for this important memorial.”

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