Kay Burley left a Tory minister squirming over Rishi Sunak’s decision to snub the Greek prime minister in a row over the Elgin Marbles.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due to meet the prime minister yesterday, but the face-to-face was cancelled at the last minute.
Sunak was angry at comments his opposite number had made about the marbles - also knows as the Parthenon Sculptures - which are in the British Museum but which the Greeks want back.
A furious diplomatic row has erupted, with the Greek government accusing the PM of showing them “no respect”.
On Sky News this morning, Burley asked environment secretary Steve Barclay: “The Parthenon Sculpture, the Elgin Marbles - what on earth is going on there? Not very diplomatic was it of our prime minister?”
But Barclay said: “I think the British Museum’s a jewel in the crown. It’s something that people from across the world come and enjoy and we’re very proud of.
“I don’t think anyone wants to re-litigate something that’s been settled for a huge amount of time.
“We have very good relations with the Greek government, but in terms of the Elgin Marbles, they’re part of the British Museum, that’s something that’s been a constant for many decades and I don’t think anyone sees any need for that to change.”
The minister also rejected Burley’s claim that the Greek PM had been “snubbed by our prime minister”.
He said: “Having meetings on something that’s settled I don’t think is particularly productive.”
But Burley hit back: “Why cancel the meeting? There were lots of other things to talk about, not least immigration.”
Barclay said: “People expect the prime minister to stand by the decision that’s been in place for a long time in terms of the importance of the Elgin Marbles. They are a key part of the British Museum.”