Several Conservative MPs were up in arms last night following protests over slave trader Edward Colston.
Priti Patel and Sajid Javid led a party rebellion after Black Lives Matter campaigners pulled down the controversial statue and pushed it into the harbour.
Ms Patel told the BBC: “I think that is utterly disgraceful. That speaks to the acts of public disorder that actually have become a distraction from the cause people are actually protesting about.
“It is a completely unacceptable act. Sheer vandalism and disorder are completely unacceptable.
“It’s right that police follow up on that and make sure that justice is taken with those individuals responsible for such disorderly and lawless behaviour.”
While Javid tweeted:
I grew up in Bristol. I detest how Edward Colston profited from the slave trade.— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) June 7, 2020
But, THIS IS NOT OK.
If Bristolians wants to remove a monument it should be done democratically – not by criminal damage. https://t.co/Wfz47zQQZU
According to Historic England, the statue was sculpted by John Cassidy, of Manchester, with an inscription that read “erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of their city AD 1895”.
Colston’s involvement in the slave trade through the British-based Royal African Company was the source of much of the money which he bestowed in Bristol, the website added.
The statue was one of a number of landmarks in Bristol to take Colston’s name, although the nearby music venue Colston Hall will be renamed this year as part of a major refurbishment.