The leading figure in a campaign to topple Britain’s statues is a hard-left antivaxxer fanatic who once disrupted a service for the Queen to tell her ‘you should be ashamed’.
Toyin Agbetu, 53, was recently appointed a member of Sadiq Khan‘s new diversity commission and is now supporting a campaign to remove a monument to Sir Robert Geffrye, a slave trader, from the Museum of the Home in Hackney, east London.
But in 2007 he screamed at the top of his voice 45 minutes into a Westminster Abbey service attended by the Queen and Prince Philip.
He told them: ‘You should be ashamed. We should not be here. This is an insult to us. I want all the Christians who are Africans to walk out of here with me.’
The Times has revealed Mr Agbetu raised scepticism about the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine when he posted a message in November that read: ‘Apparently a magical vaccine is around the corner from the Viagra specialists. There’s a lot of nonsense out there and it’s coming from the clowns in No 10.’
Toyin Agbetu (pictured when he stormed to the front of Westminster Abbey during a service attended by the Queen in 2007), 53, was recently appointed a member of Sadiq Khan’s new diversity commission
Campaign has been launched to take down statue of Sir Robert Geffrye above the Museum of the Home in London
More recently he featured in a video of a protest at the museum posted to Momentum Hackney’s Facebook group, where he said, ‘the passage of time, doesn’t wipe out the crime’ and ‘Geffrye must fall’.
Mr Agbetu (pictured) raised scepticism about the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in November
It comes despite the group having just 222 followers on Twitter and a survey finding out just 71 per cent of people were in favour of removing it. People connected to the museum itself voted 61 per cent in favour of keeping it.
The Socialist Workers Party and the mayor of London’s diversity commission have been accused of fuelling campaigns to remove statues despite the majority of Briton’s wanting to keep them.
The Museum of the Home voted to keep the statue of Sir Robert after the Black Lives Matter protests last summer. But the question has now been raised again after the statue’s hands were daubed with red paint.
The opposing campaign, Save Our Statues, has blasted those trying to tear down the statues for erasing history.
Recent protesters have included Sasha Simic, a member of the Socialist Workers Party. He wrote on Twitter: ‘I want to piss on the ashes of capitalism’.
A spokesman for Mr Khan’s office said: ‘City Hall carried out an open and transparent recruitment process in order to form an inclusive and representative board of the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm.
The Statue of Robert Geffryes on the Facade of the Geffrye Museum
The City of London Corporation last month declared it would remove two huge sculptures depicting ex-Lord Mayor William Beckford (right) and philanthropist MP Sir John Cass (left) over their historic links to the slave trade.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured) said the City of London risks damaging its ‘rich history’ if it goes through with a BLM-inspired bid to topple the two statues
‘All panel members were assessed for the role by a review panel and a decision made based on what they could bring to the role.
Memorials to politicians, war heroes and authors all targeted due to links to slavery and racist beliefs
Since Edward Colston’s statue was thrown into Bristol Harbour, there has been a wave of attacks from vandals on various monuments across Britain.
A statue to Winston Churchill was defaced with the words ‘was a racist’ and ‘f*** your agenda’ written underneath the memorial to the war time PM in Westminster Square, London.
Slave trader Robert Milligan’s was covered with a shord and the message ‘Black Lives Matter’ was placed on it in West India Docks amid calls for it to be taken down. It was later removed by Tower Hamlets Council.
Tower Hamlets Council removed a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan
Less than a year after it was erected, ‘Nazi’ was scrawled underneath a statue of Nancy Astor, the first woman to take a seat in Parliament, in Plymouth.
A monument to 19th-century politician Henry Vassall-Fox, the third Baron Holland, was left splattered with red paint in Holland Park. A cardboard sign reading ‘I owned 401 slaves’ was perched in the bronze statue’s arms, with the number painted on the plinth alongside red handprints.
A Grade II-listed monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, Britain’s foremost naval hero, which stands in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, was sprayed with a black ‘V’ in the middle of a circle – an anarchist symbol.
Red paint spattered another stature of Lord Nelson at Deptford Town Hall in South London.
In Kent, a former councillor wrote ‘Dickens Racist’ outside a museum dedicated to the beloved 19th century author. Letters sent by the Oliver Twist author showed he wished to ‘exterminate’ Indian citizens after a failed uprising.
A statue of Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell in Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, had the words ‘Cromwell is a cockroach,’ ‘f*** racist’ and the Black Lives Matter acronym ‘BLM’ scrawled across it last month. Thousands of people were massacred during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland.
BLM was also scrawled across the Worcester Civil War memorial in Royal Park.
‘Toyin Agbetu was appointed for his significant expertise, knowledge and experience as a social rights activist and in setting up Ligali, which challenges the misrepresentation of African people and culture in the media.
‘His vast experience will provide a valuable contribution to the Commission.’
There are currently 130 Labour-led councils reviewing statues and road names across Britain in light of Black Lives Matter protests.
Weyman Bennett, a veteran Socialist Workers Party member went on LBC radio to campaign for the removal of a statue of Scouts’ founder Robert Baden-Powell.
Of the statue in Poole Harbour, Dorset, he said: ‘We should put statues up to genuine people that made progress for humanity.’
The statue of Sir Robert Peel, the former prime minister and founder of the Metropolitan Police, is also under threat in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester.
Sami Pinarbasi, a left-wing academic at Manchester Metropolitan University, told the Times: ‘I started my campaign because I want a better future for my country.’
And a petition to remove an obelisk to Thomas Picton in Carmarthen, south Wales, was hijacked by foreigners. Out of 18,646 signatures, only 3,897 responses were based in the UK.
The majority were from the US while others came from Australia, Greenland, Tonga and Tuvalu.
Meanwhile, a council survey found more than two thirds of those responding didn’t want anything to be done about the Picton memorial. Despite this, the authority went ahead and put up a plaque explaining his connection to slavery.
It comes after Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Khan of overseeing ‘loony left-wing wheezes’ after the London mayor unveiled his commission.
The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm was announced earlier this week and will include art historian Aindrea Emelife and chairman of City Sikhs Jasvir Singh among 15 panellists.
The homepage of the commission notes that London’s statues, plaques and street names ‘largely reflect a bygone era’ and it seeks to improve diversity in public spaces.
It prompted a colourful response from patrician Mr Rees-Mogg, who branded the mayor ‘Red Khan’.
The Commons Leader said councils should be responsible for naming streets, with the MP for North East Somerset advising Sadiq Khan to not ‘interfere in things that aren’t his responsibility’.
‘Who would have thought that you’d have a more left-wing leader of London than Ken Livingstone? And now we do, and Red Khan is he,’ Mr Rees-Mogg told the Commons.
‘It is quite wrong that these loony left-wing wheezes should be inflicted upon our great metropolis, and I think the mayor in his zeal is potentially treading on the toes of councils anyway – that councils have the right to name streets, by and large, not the Mayor of London, and I don’t think he should interfere in things that aren’t his responsibility.
‘As I was saying on the honours list, we should celebrate and glory in our wonderful history and in the great heroes of our nation going back over centuries.’
They are among 125 under-fire landmarks featured on a map by Topple The Racists, a website pinpointing their locations