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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 23:35 GMT 00:35 UK
Mayor fights for Mandela statue
Model of the Nelson Mandela statue
The statue's future may depend on John Prescott
The Mayor of London is to throw his weight behind an appeal to allow a statue of Nelson Mandela to stand on the north terrace of Trafalgar Square.

Westminster Council rejected plans for the 9ft tribute to the South African president last year saying the terrace was not the best location.

Ken Livingstone's support comes ahead of a public inquiry to challenge the council's decision.

A representation will be made by the mayor at the hearing on 29 September.

Mr Livingstone has campaigned for the statue along with the sponsors - film director Lord Attenborough and Wendy Woods, widow of anti-apartheid campaigner Donald Woods.

Once you put a statue up to one person, someone says what about Gandhi?
Westminster Council spokesman

He said: "There can be no better place than our greatest square to place a statue of Nelson Mandela so that every generation can remind the next of the fight against racism."

He said Mandela gave his support to London's Olympic bid saying the city is a diverse and welcoming international city and accused Westminster councillors of being out of touch with the modern world.

A spokesman for Westminster Council said councillors were enthusiastic about the size and design of the statue but would have preferred it to stand outside South Africa House, also in the square.

"Once you put a statue up to one person, someone says what about Gandhi? We would like to keep the north terrace free from clutter."

This, he said, would allow the terrace to remain open with enough room for celebrations such as the tour of London by England's Ashes winning cricket team.

The three-day inquiry before the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister starts on 27 September.

Mandela Statue Fund launched
24 Mar 03 |  England

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