Jeremy Corbyn will return Elgin marbles to Greece if made Prime Minister

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Jeremy Corbyn said it was clear the marbles belong to Greece (Source: Getty)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece if he is elected.

Speaking to Greek newspaper Ta Nea, Corbyn said it was clear the sculptures "belong to Greece".

"They were made in Greece, and that is where they were for thousands of years until they were taken by Lord Elgin. We should be engaged in constructive talks with the Greek government about returning the sculptures.”

The marbles, which date back to the fifth century BC, was taken from the Parthenon in Athens by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin.

After obtaining permission from the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Greece at the time, he brought the marbles to England and sold them to the British government in 1816.

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They are displayed in the British Museum in London.

In the interview published today, he also commented on the Greek debt crisis, saying it was evidence that governments should be able to intervene in the economy.

"Governments must have the freedom to set economic policies that will help the many," he said. "State intervention in the economy, ensuring the retention of vital public services or choosing a different path to austerity must all be policy options available to democratic states."

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