“Never mind the British Museum - it's the prime minister who has obviously lost his marbles.”
Rishi Sunak endured a humiliating Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon, where Labour leader Keir Starmer roasted him for starting an embarrassing diplomatic row with Greece.
Earlier in the week, it was reported that Sunak had cancelled a meeting at the last minute with the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, because Mitsotakis had reiterated his desire to see the Elgin Marbles returned to Greece during a TV interview.
The Greek PM had told BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that the marbles should be returned, as having some of the artefacts in London and the rest in Athens was like cutting the Mona Lisa in half.
A senior Conservative source told the BBC: “It became impossible for this meeting to go ahead following commentary regarding the Elgin Marbles prior to it.
“Our position is clear – the Elgin Marbles are part of the permanent collection of the British Museum and belong here. It is reckless for any British politician to suggest that this is subject to negotiation.”
The marbles now sit in the British Museum, which first received a formal request for their permanent return in 1983.
At PMQs today, Starmer slammed Sunak for cancelling the meeting and for turning down the opportunity to discuss “serious issues” with a NATO and economic ally at a time of global instability.
He told Sunak: “Never mind the British Museum – it’s the prime minister who has obviously lost his marbles.”
Starmer also slammed Sunak for arguing over a small relic which only a ‘tiny minority of the British public have an interest in, but that’s enough about the Tory party.’
Starmer went on to add: “It is ironic he has suddenly taken such a keen interest in Greek culture when he has clearly become the man with the reverse Midas touch.
“Everything he touches turns to… maybe the home secretary can help me out… rubbish.”
Starmer’s comments came after polls showed that Sunak continues to trail Labour, despite the Prime Minister’s cabinet reshuffle and sacking of Suella Braverman.
The latest YouGov/Times voting intention poll shows the Conservatives on 25% of the vote to Labour’s 44%.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward