The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country – and the whole of Europe – from a fascist and racist tyranny.
It is absurd and shameful that this national monument should today be at risk of attack by violent protestors. Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial.
We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations.
They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults. To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.
As for the planned demonstrations, we all understand the legitimate feelings of outrage at what happened in Minnesota and the legitimate desire to protest against discrimination.
Whatever progress this country has made in fighting racism – and it has been huge – we all recognise that there is much more work to do.
But it is clear that the protests have been sadly hijacked by extremists intent on violence. The attacks on the police and indiscriminate acts of violence which we have witnessed over the last week are intolerable and they are abhorrent.
The only responsible course of action is to stay away from these protests.