National Holocaust memorial legislation to be unveiled in King's Speech

King Charles will deliver the speech on Tuesday during the state opening of Parliament


The government will confirm its commitment to new legislation that will pave the way to the creation of a national Holocaust memorial in next week’s Kings Speech.

The bill, sponsored by the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities, led by Michael Gove, allows the provision of public funds and removes restrictions stemming from Victorian-era laws to building the planned memorial and learning centre on the intended site in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Palace of Westminster.

It passed its second reading in the Commons unopposed in June, and will now return for its committee stage.

A government spokesman said the memorial will serve as a "powerful reminder to the whole of society of the unique evils of the Holocaust, and its victims".

He added: “The government has always understood the importance of Holocaust memorial and has supported a National Holocaust Memorial Day since it was established. The memorial will honour the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered, and other victims of Nazi persecution.”

Gove told the JC: “The government is determined to see the Holocaust memorial placed at the heart of our national life, next to the Houses of Parliament.

“We promised ‘never again’ after the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi era and the systematic killing of six million Jews. And yet on 7 October in Israel, we saw terrorists inflict murder and evil violence that resulted in the largest loss of Jewish life on a single day since the Holocaust. That was a tragic reminder that the memory of the Holocaust must be preserved for future generations.

“The memorial will stand as a profound expression of Britain’s shared values and beliefs.”

Gove and his department have also sponsored the bill that will outlaw BDS boycotts of Israel, which is also set to return to the Commons for its third and final reading after Parliament re-opens after the King’s Speech.

The idea of having a national Holocaust Memorial and learning centre in Victoria Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament, was first proposed by a commission set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, but it has faced various setbacks since then. 

Most recently, the government was accused of “demoting” the Shoah after it revealed the planned memorial would will also commemorate victims of other international genocides.

References to mass murders during the civil war in Rwanda, the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields in Cambodia, the killing of men, women and children in Darfur, Western Sudan, and the Bosnia War are expected to be included in the memorial.

Cross-bench peer Baroness Ruth Deech suggested the move would "prompt generalities about hate and intolerance and would drain the presentation of the Shoah from its antisemitic origins dating back thousands of years".

During the summer a coalition of survivors, historians and politicians including Baroness Deech and Sir Simon Schama urged the government to scrap the proposed £102m memorial and instead use the funds to establish a new Jewish museum in central London.

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