Mayor urges Westminster Council to show commitment to fighting intolerance by approving Holocaust Memorial plans

Thursday 15 August

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today called on Westminster Council leaders to approve plans for a Holocaust Memorial that will make a “powerful national statement” and show commitment to fighting intolerance in all its forms.

In a letter to the Council, the Mayor said the proposals, which include a monument and education centre in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Palace of Westminster, would be a fitting tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.

Sadiq has vowed to be a leader for all faiths and to fight intolerance in the capital. He was proud to have been invited to be involved in this memorial from an early stage, including as a jury member for the design competition, which attracted 11,000 comments from the public.

However, in March this year, Sadiq first voiced his deep concern that the Holocaust Memorial might not be approved, despite the location being agreed by Westminster Council and The Royal Parks. The Mayor remains fearful that the plans may be rejected following objections about the impact of views at Victoria Tower Gardens. He supports concerns made by the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation Advisory Board which had expressed its misgivings about the planning process.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As we see the scourge of anti-Semitism and hate crime increasing across our country, now more than ever we need a National Holocaust Memorial, so we can learn the lessons from history, as well as pay tribute to the victims of the Nazi genocide.

“It will show our commitment to fighting extremism and intolerance in all forms and make a powerful national statement about our democracy and its values, reminding us what can happen when hatred is left unchecked.

“I have previously expressed my fear however that these plans would be rejected. Westminster City Council must follow the proper consultation process for this planning application and show transparency by fully explaining how it reached its decision.

“I therefore urge Westminster City Council not to reject these plans and instead enable this hugely important national Memorial to take its rightful place in the heart of the capital and close to the seat of national government.”

The Mayor has regularly spoken of the importance of tackling hate crime and has been a strong supporter of the Jewish community. His first official engagement as Mayor was attending the Yom HaShoah event at Barnet Copthall Stadium. Earlier this year he met Jewish faith leaders and Holocaust survivors at City Hall’s annual commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day and the UK ceremony.

Last year he attended the Board of Deputies of British Jews annual dinner, attended Yom HaShoah, broke his fast during Ramadan at the St John’s Wood Synagogue and visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.

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