Sunday, 27 January 2008

Hodge attacks Salmond's Chessmen gambit

UK CULTURE minister Margaret Hodge has dismissed Alex Salmond's demand for the Lewis Chessmen to be returned to Scotland as "nonsense".

Writing in today's Scotland on Sunday, she accuses the First Minister of "creating conflict, not culture" with his call for the artefacts, found on a beach in Lewis in the 19th century, to be "seized" from their home in the British Museum in London.

And she suggests that the chessmen do no necessarily belong in Scotland anyway, pointing out that they were made in Norway and buried in Lewis at time when the Western Isles belonged to Norway, and were on their way to Ireland.

Hodge's intervention came as Scottish Culture Minister Linda Fabiani yesterday travelled to London to view the chessmen and met museum officials to discuss the artefacts' "repatriation".

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