Rishi Sunak has confirmed that the construction of a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in the heart of Westminster will go ahead.
In an announcement made at Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday the Prime Minister gave the green-light to the £100 million project to be built in Victoria Tower Gardens, a small public park next to Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster.
He said: “As we prepare to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, I’m sure the whole House will join me in paying tribute to the extraordinary courage of Britain’s Holocaust survivors, including 94-year-old Arek Hersh who is with us here today.
“This government will legislate to build the Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre next to Parliament so that testimonies of survivors like Arek will be heard at the heart of our democracy by every generation to come.”
Jewish News reports comments released after PMQs, the PM added:”“This important Bill brings us one step closer to delivering a national Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre at the heart of our democracy in Westminster, where it rightly belongs.
“The Memorial will honour the memory of those who were so cruelly murdered and preserve the testimonies of brave survivors so that future generations will never forget the horrors of the holocaust.
“As the remaining survivors become older and fewer in number, it is vital that we push ahead with the Memorial which is supported by all major political parties.”
Rishi Sunak has confirmed the construction of a Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in the heart of Westminster will go ahead. The project has been tied up in legal disputes led by local residents. #HolocaustMemorialDay pic.twitter.com/riukhv2r6F
— Richard Ferrer 🗞 (@richferrer) January 25, 2023
Sunak’s confirmation that the controversial project can proceed came ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day on Friday.
Manfred Goldberg BEM, a Holocaust survivor who was held captive in Stutthof concentration camp, Poland, said: “Several years ago survivors were promised a Holocaust Memorial in close proximity to the Houses of Parliament.
I am a 92 year old survivor who would be so grateful to be alive when this project, uniquely situated next to the Mother of Parliaments, comes to fruition.”
The memorial and learning centre was first announced by former prime minister David Cameron in 2016, and has been backed by every PM since, along with Labour and Lib Dem leaders.
But planning permission for the museum and memorial has been rejected a number of times by both Westminster council and through the courts due to a law dating back to 1900 banning construction in Victoria Tower Gardens.
The Holocaust Memorial Bill will update historic legislation, removing a statutory obstacle that has previously prevented the building of a new memorial and learning centre in Victoria Tower Gardens.
We want to give credit to all those organisations who defended this important project, including the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
They all worked tirelessly to achieve this positive outcome.
Christians United for Israel has campaigned in support of this memorial for the past two years with over 15,000 people signing CUFI’s petition in support of building the National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. We are grateful to everyone who took part in supporting our campaign.
CUFI UK Director Des Starritt said, “We welcome this tremendous announcement and look forward to seeing this project become a reality over the next few years. To honour those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, we must learn from the mistakes of the past. This memorial is an important step in educating present and future generations to ensure these lessons of history are not forgotten.”
Starritt added, “The location of the memorial and learning centre will act as a continual reminder to those in seats of power at Westminster that they have a tremendous responsibility to stand against anti-Semitism.”
This year, we want to do more to bless Israel and the Jewish people.
We know that as we bless Israel this year, God will bless us, just as He promised in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Now is the time to bless Israel and the Jewish people.