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Statue of Sir Winston Churchill and Cenotaph being defaced is ‘sad to see’, says his grandson

Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson has described the vandalism of his grandfather’s statue and others during Black Lives Matter protests as an “absurd reaction” that is “sad to see”.

Sir Nicholas Soames told Sky News that the majority of Black Lives Matter protesters are “very sincere people” but demonstrations have been “hijacked by a very small number of anarchists and violent people”.

He said the defacing of his grandfather’s statue in Parliament Square and the Cenotaph in Whitehall was the “act of a mob”.

The former Conservative MP said: “It is rather a sad thing to reflect that, although this is a very important issue, and all these people are demonstrating for what is effectively a very good cause, it ends up with wanton destruction.

Westminster Council street marshals stand next to a protective covering installed overnight surrounding the statue of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, London, following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
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The statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square has been covered for its own protection

“I hope it doesn’t happen again this weekend.”

He said that the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol that was pulled down by activists was “deeply offensive to many people”, but he does not agree with the way it was removed.

The 72-year-old said statues should be removed “by democracy”, adding: “That is entirely a matter for local government. We don’t do this thing in Britain that if you don’t like something, you destroy it.

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“That is the antithesis of everything this country stands for.”

Asked about his grandfather’s views on Indian people, women’s rights and the white race, he said: “There will be people who don’t agree with my grandfather’s views.

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“Churchill was born in 1874 in the reign of Queen Victoria. He served six of the kings and queens of Britain. He was essentially an Edwardian.

“Many of his views would be unpalatable to many people nowadays because they were in a completely different era.

“But you can’t just cut history off at the mains. History is history. You can’t edit or censor it.”

‘Churchill was a racist’ written on statue
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A sign saying ‘Churchill was a racist’ is attached to his bust during Black Lives Matter protests in London

He encouraged people to view Churchill’s legacy “as a whole”, adding: “Of course there were many things about which he was very controversial. There were things he was wrong about. You can’t do 60 years of public service without being wrong about some things.

“But at the end of the day, Churchill saved this country. He was one of the greatest leaders this country has ever seen.

“He was a great defender of liberty and democracy, which is what these people want.”

Winston Churchill VE Day
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Sir Nicholas said his grandfather ‘saved’ Britain

Sir Nicholas is also the great nephew of Scouts founder Robert Baden Powell, whose statue in Poole, Dorset, was also placed on a hit list by anti-racism protesters.

The local council said it was putting the monument under 24-hour protection “until it is either removed or the threat diminishes”.

Sir Nicholas, who stepped down as an MP after having the whip removed during a Tory rebellion over Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, said the Black Lives Matter movement is “very important”.

“These people are protesting about something perfectly appalling. There is no doubt that much more that needs to be done. But pulling statues down is not the way,” he said.

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