BORIS JOHNSON has said said it would not be right to remove the statue of Oliver Cromwell despite the fact he 'killed so many thousands of people in Ireland'.
The UK Prime Minister, writing on Facebook, today condemned the potential for attacks on the Winston Churchill statue in London, saying it is 'absurd and deplorable' to suggest the statue should be removed.
Stating that he understands "the depth of feeling that has been exposed" by the murder of George Floyd, which has sparked protests and riots around the world, he went on to say that we should not be "sucked into the never-ending debate" about which statues are "politically correct" enough to remain standing.
Referencing Oliver Cromwell, a figure despised in Ireland for the brutal settlement he led which killed thousands of innocent Irish civilians in just nine months, and whose statue stands outside the UK Houses of Parliament, he said:
"Where will it end? Are we supposed to haul down Cromwell who killed so many thousands of people in Ireland?"
Defending Churchill, whose actions led to a famine in India which killed up to 3 million people and who described Indians as "a beastly people with a beastly religion", Johnson said his views "changed with the times", later building a Mosque in Regent's Park.
"He was a hero, and I expect I am not alone in saying that I will resist with every breath in my body any attempt to remove that statue from Parliament Square, and the sooner his protective shielding comes off the better," he said.
Rather than removing the statues of slave traders, imperialists and known racists, Prime Minister Johnson suggested instead adding statues of minority men and women "who helped to make our modern Commonwealth and our modern word", adding "isn't that a more cheerful approach?"
Mr Johnson's article comes following a wave of calls-- and some direct action-- for statues celebrating slave traders to be removed as part of the anti-racism demonstrations taking part across the world.
In Bristol, demonstrators tore down a statue of slave trader Edward Colston after years of campaigning to have it removed.
Meanwhile, protesters in Belgium have defaced multiple states of King Leopold III, who enslaved the state of Congo and killed an estimated 10 million people in Africa.
Leo Varadkar has said that there are some statues in Ireland that "we need to talk about", one of Nazi collaborator Seán Russell in Dublin's Fairview Park.