As the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism I have responsibilities on a broad range of policy areas from promoting the UK as a tourist destination, to the protection of heritage buildings, to supporting our world class culture sector.
Our heritage is an important part of who we are as a nation and all our heritage sites must be protected.
There has been media recently about some fringe groups trying to remove statues of historic people who in their lifetimes did not meet current standards of acceptable conduct.
I take the view that history, whether good or bad, is part of who we are and as a society we learn good or bad things from it. Ignoring it or whitewashing it simply means that the errors of the past may be re-visited in the future.
Recently, the Grade I Listed memorial to Karl Marx at Highgate Cemetery in north London was vandalised in a criminal act. Graffiti was sprayed on the tomb and the 140 year old marble stone was attacked and shattered by a hammer or other heavy object.
I visited the site to discuss with bosses there the ways in which we can work with the heritage sector to prevent acts of vandalism in the future. Historic England are helping advise the cemetery as to the specialist conservation repairs.
This attack followed an attack on war memorials in central London which I also publicly spoke out against. You can read more about this using the following website link: https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/755111/bomber-command-statues-war-memorials-daily-star-campaign.
On Tuesday, 19th February I marked another milestone: 100 years of women in the Police. The Met Police have opened an exhibition to mark 100 years of women Police Officers – another landmark in gender equality.