‘I cannot pretend I feel any sense of loss’, says Bristol’s Mayor Marvin Rees on Colston Statue

Rees was interviewed by Sky News on the topic

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees revealed that he did not feel “any real sense of loss for the statue” after protesters tore down the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston yesterday.

In interviews, Ree’s stated that the actions yesterday are “now part of that statue’s story” and it was always a “personal affront” to him to have a statue of a slave trader in the middle of Bristol.

The statue was thrown into Bristol Harbour by Pero’s Bridge, shortly after protesters pulled it down.

‘This is part of Bristol’s culture to be rebellious.’

When asked in interview with Sky News about the statue of Colston being torn down, Rees said:

“What has happened to that statue is part of the city’s history, and it’s now part of that statue’s story. Just like the riots of 1831 in Bristol, in the suffragette movement in the city where people spoke up. This is, in many ways, part of Bristol’s culture to be rebellious.”

‘I cannot pretend I feel any real sense of loss for the statue.’

He has also told BBC Radio 4 that: “As an elected politician, obviously I cannot condone the damage and I am very concerned about the implications of a mass gathering on the possibility of a second Covid wave.

“But I am of Jamaican heritage and I cannot pretend that I have any real sense of loss for the statue and I cannot pretend it was anything other than a personal affront to me to have it in the middle of Bristol, the city in which I grew up.”

Priti Patel has since described the incident as “utterly disgraceful” whilst Justice Minister Kit Malthouse has stated prosecutions must happen.

‘I think the Home Secretary is showing a lack of understanding.’

After being questioned on whether he agreed with these statements, Rees replied: “No, I don’t think that’s a very helpful way to describe it and I think the Home Secretary is showing a lack of understanding over where the country is right now.

“I would love to hear some outrage about the 25% of kids who live in poverty in the city, the inequality, the deaths in custody both here and in the United States, the militarisation of US streets, the Windrush Scandal.”

He also said that: “You can’t be selective in your outrage. If in the last few years our politics had managed to capture the spirit of the country, had recognised the growing frustration, which I think was on show during Brexit as well, then maybe we wouldn’t have ended up in this situation.”

When questioned upon his opinion of the situation in the United States, he described Donald Trump as, “a president who is not even trying to understand, he just wants to dominate. That is not the way we want to do politics in Britain. You must understand your population.”