Thursday, 21 Oct 2021

Ronald Reagan was a ‘true friend!’ Boris urged to place statue at Parliament Square

PMQs: Boris Johnson urged to move Ronald Reagan state

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Andrew Rosindell said he was “deeply concerned” after reading a story in the Sunday Express that the statue of Ronald Reagan in Grosvenor Square in Mayfair has been removed. Mr Rosindell said the US president was a “true friend” of the UK who fought alongside Margaret Thatcher and wanted the statue to be moved to a more “prominent location”. The Tory MP revealed he would like it to be placed in Parliament Square with Boris Johnson attacking the “recoiling” opposition bench as he defended the figure. 

Addressing the House of Commons, Mr Rosindell said: “I was deeply concerned at the weekend following reports in the Sunday Express that the statue of great US president Ronald Reagan, which once stood in Grosvenor Square, has been removed and remains out of public sight. 

“I know the Prime Minister would agree with me that President Reagan was a true friend to the UK who alongside Margaret Thatcher ended the Cold War and supported Britain during the liberation of the Falkland Islands. 

“Now that our American friends have moved to a new embassy in Wandsworth, would the Prime Minister agree with me that President Reagan’s statue should be moved to a more prominent location? 

“[Like] Parliament Square so that visitors from home and across the globe can honour this remarkable man?”

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But Mr Johnson quickly took to his feet to blast the opposition benches after the Falklands War was mentioned.

He said: “Did you notice Mr Speaker how the benches opposite recoiled against the idea of the recapture of the Falkland Islands. 

“When you’ve just heard an honourary member say [in the house] that she is ashamed of her country – it is no wonder why people take that kind of attitude. 

“I think he is entirely right in what he says about President Reagan and I think he was a very distinguished president.”

But the PM reminded the house that it was not down to him to install statues – which is the responsibility of the Greater London Authority – and said the question should be directed at the mayor. 

He added he hoped to see “a new one” who would do justice for Ronald Reagan. 

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The statue currently sits in storage as the former US embassy goes through renovation works to become flats.

But MPs and the public have seized the opportunity to push for the statue to be permanently relocated to Parliament Square. 

In a previous statement, Mr Rosindell said: “It made sense that his statue stood proudly on Grosvenor Square.

“But now the Americans have moved their embassy to Nine Elms and the old embassy site is becoming flats, it would be fitting to relocate his statue to a prominent position in London where it can be admired by visitors from across the globe – it cannot be hidden away from public view.”

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Wakefield Conservative MP Imran Khan also backs the move.

He said: “Ronald Reagan together with Margaret Thatcher demonstrated to the world the unbreakable bonds that bind the UK and USA being two great nations forged from a single ideas-based civilisation built on the same bedrock and from the same everlasting stone of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

“Together they defeated the menace of communism and the fear of imminent nuclear Holocaust and reintroduced to their economies and societies aspiration, enterprise, freedom and self-belief.

“It would be only fitting for a true friend of the United Kingdom to be honoured on Parliament Square in the company of Britain’s other freedom-loving friends Lincoln, Gandhi and Mandela.”

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