Andrew Dismore MP a step closer to law on art restitution

By Marcus Dysch, May 21, 2009

A campaign to change the law which would allow art looted by the Nazis and found in British museums to be returned to the heirs of the original owners has taken a “major step forward”.

Labour’s Hendon MP Andrew Dismore secured an unopposed second reading for his Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Bill in the House of Commons last Friday.

It will now be considered in detail at committee level and then followed by a report and a final reading.

Mr Dismore said: “The Bill will right a long-standing injustice by giving powers to museums and galleries to return pieces of art and cultural objects taken from their rightful owners. I am extremely hopeful that it will become law in the current session of Parliament.”

Estimates suggest around 20 looted items are in British museums, but the number could be far greater.

Rightful owners may want restitution, Mr Dismore said, but others might settle for compensation or public acknowledgment of their ownership.

Last updated: 4:09pm, May 21 2009