Following discontent with the National Trust in recent months, Westbury MP, Andrew Murrison, secured an adjournment debate on its future.
He said, “The job of the National Trust is simple – to be custodian and Clerk of Works to a large wedge of our national treasures, not force the world view of its leadership on the public or risk departing from its charitable purposes as set out in law.”
Changes proposed in a series of leaked National Trust documents discussed in the debate include re-purposing of smaller properties (meaning more closures) and job cuts – despite record levels of membership – which the Trust insists are because of Covid-19.
Referring to the controversial Trust report, ‘Addressing our histories of colonialism and slavery’ which among others appeared to tarnish Winston Churchill’s reputation, Dr Murrison said, “The National Trust should be a politics-free space, a great mediating institution, not an organ for promulgating a particular world view.”
This year marks the Trust’s 125th anniversary and Dr Murrison finished his speech by calling for an independent review so “the Trust can then chart a course for the next 125 years”.
In response, Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston shared some of the MP’s concerns and welcomed the scrutiny.