Goldsmiths in south London has opened a public consultation on whether the colonialera monuments should remain on one of its buildings. It follows complaints from students.
Sir John Hayes, the chairman of the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs, said their removal from the former Deptford Town Hall would “dishonour national heroes” and be an “appalling distortion of history”.
He is now writing to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.
His dismay is shared by fellow Tory MP Alexander Stafford. He said: “Drake played a key role in repelling the Spanish Armada and Nelson led our country to its most famous naval victory, defeating Napoleon.
“Removing these would be immensely disrespectful.”
Academics at the university said it was “vital” any decision reflected “the wishes of the local community”. Options are that the statues stay, are removed or have historical context added.
Professor Frances Corner, warden of Goldsmiths, said: “These statues were carved in 1905 to reflect the wishes of the local community then and it is vital that, a little over a century later, any decision on their future reflects the wishes of our local community now.”