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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian speaks in Parliamentary Debate on Richard III Reburial

March 12, 2013

Julian has today spoken passionately in support of returning the remains of Richard III to Yorkshire for reburial during a Parliamentary debate.

A number of MPs from both Yorkshire and Leicestershire were in attendance at the Westminster Hall debate on the licensing of the reburial King Richard III. During the debate, Julian argued that the controversy surrounding the issue stemmed from a distinct lack of public consultation before the Licence was granted to the University of Leicester.

Mr Sturdy concluded his speech by calling for an independent body to have the ultimate decision on where Richard III is to be reinterred.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Jeremy Wright MP, responded by claiming that due to the terms of the Licence, the decision ultimately lay with the University of Leicester. Mr Wright did, however, offer to facilitate a meeting between Leicester University and the concerned parties in Yorkshire.

In his speech, Mr Sturdy said:

“I believe the controversy surrounding the decision to bury Richard III at Leicester Cathedral stems from the fact that there has been very little public consultation on this issue.

“The people of York are profoundly grateful to the University of Leicester and their archaeologists’ efforts in recovering and identifying the body of the Richard III.

“However, they remain frustrated that they were not given the opportunity to put forward their views on where Richard III should be reinterred.

“Perhaps what is even more frustrating for them is that Richard III’s own wishes seem not to have been consulted either.

“Historians widely believe that, whilst living, Richard III expressed a desire to be buried in York. Indeed he spent the best part of his Childhood at Middleham Castle, in the Yorkshire Dales.

“Richard also spent some of the best years of his life as his elder brother’s Lieutenant in Yorkshire and he very clearly identified himself with the City of York and its Minster.

“King Richard drew much of his support and powerbase from York and Yorkshire. In return, York clearly held a very special position in Richard’s heart. And this was reflected in his plans for a Chantry of 100 priests in York Minster, where he wished to be buried…

“The decision to allow the University of Leicester to have free reign over King Richard’s final resting place, flies in the face, not only of the many tens of thousands of people who have added their support to the campaign to see him buried in York, but also his remaining descendants.

“It is true that Westminster Abbey, Leicester Cathedral and York Minster all have claims as suitable locations for the reburial of Richard III.

“But instead of allowing campaigners on all three sides to debate the issue in a democratic fashion, the government and the University of Leicester appear to have hashed out this important decision behind closed doors and concluded it in a sort of ‘finders keepers’ agreement.

“I entirely back the Honourable Member for York Central’s call for an independent body to make the final decision over the resting place of Richard III.”

To watch the debate in full press play below and skip to 11.00. To watch Julian’s speech, skip to 11.20: