Michael Sheen: Happy to talk about Newport Chartist memorial commission
11:31am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
HOLLYWOOD actor Michael Sheen said he would be happy to discuss an offer for him to work on a new Newport memorial to the commemoration of the Chartists.
Last Saturday Bob Bright, writing in the Argus, offered Sheen the chance to chair a commission to assess the findings of a consultation on the proposed Chartist Mural replacement.
Newport-born Sheen has told the Argus he would “of course be interested in finding out more about what is being suggested by way of a commission.”
But he said he would need to find out more information first, asking whether the commission would be independent and whether groups such as the mural protestors would be represented.
He also wanted to know what sort of budget would be available for what the commission recommends.
However he said he was “certainly happy to discuss it further and try and get a bit more of a handle on what is being suggested.
The star of The Queen and Frost/Nixon said that was pleased to see that the deadline for suggestions has been extended on November 30.
But he added: “I think there may be other ways that could be explored to get feedback that could be more interactive”.
Leader of Newport Council Bob Bright will be contacting Michael Sheen direct to invite him to meet or speak with the council to discuss the plans in more detail, the council said.
A spokeswoman for the council said: “The council is delighted that Mr Sheen is interested in discussing this further and hopes that he will be involved. The council looks forward to hearing from Mr Sheen and welcoming him back to Newport.”
Sheen, writing to the people of Newport in an open letter published in the Argus last week, called the demolition of the Chartist Mural a “vicious irony” that was absurd as well as tragic.
But he called for the people of Newport to come together and “find a common ground upon which we can re-affirm our belief” in the value of the Chartists, and suggested ideas for the new memorial.
Cllr Bright, in his reply to Sheen the Argus published on Saturday, thanked him “for agreeing with what has to be done”.
“We would be delighted if he would now consider being the chair of a commission to assess the findings of the current public consultation, and help us plan the next steps,” he wrote.
Its understood that there were full and frank discussions on the demolition of the mural at the meeting of the Newport Labour group on Monday night.
It was the first opportunity that Labour members, some of whom have expressed their frustration at what happened publicly, had to discuss the matter as a group.
However the meeting was private and no Labour member would discuss the matter when approached by the Argus.
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