The dumping of a statue of slave trader Edward Colston into Bristol Harbour at the weekend has prompted renewed calls for Oxford’s Cecil Rhodes statue to go.

Oxford councillors and MP Layla Moran have supported a campaign to remove the monument to the 19th century businessman, imperialist and southern Africa politician, who is seen by many to represent colonialism and racism.

A petition on created on Thursday, has gained more than 9,000 signatures and urges Oxford University’s Oriel College to remove its ‘racist statue’.

POLL: Should Oxford's Cecil Rhodes statue be removed?

The college was contacted about whether it was reconsidering the future of the statue and if it was taking any additional measures to protect the monument but did not respond.

A major campaign in 2016 called Rhodes Must Fall failed to persuade the college to remove the statue.

But there has been a fresh focus on the controversial monument since the toppling on Sunday of Colston’s statue during an anti-racism demonstration, one of many in the UK sparked by the death of George Floyd while he was under arrest in Minneapolis in the United States last month.

A sign saying ‘Rhodes, you’re next’ was taped to University Church, opposite the High Street statue on Sunday.

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In an open letter to Oxford University's vice-chancellor, campaigners said 'none of the demands of the movement have been met and student protests and concerns continue to be dismissed by senior members of the university'.

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds refused to say definitively whether she believed the statue should go when asked on BBC Breakfast yesterday.

She said: “My view is that it staying where it is without any other symbol there that would highlight what occurred during those awful times is not helpful. Some people want an opposing symbol there, you have others who want it to be removed - for me the critical thing is to listen to the black community within Oxford and those who are directly impacted by this. I am not going to seek to speak for them, I don't think that would be helpful."

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Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran, however, said while she did not endorse 'vigilante action' she did believe the statue should go. She said: “The statues of white supremacists and slave merchants should not still be standing in our cities. That’s why the statue of Cecil Rhodes must come down.

“I’m not endorsing vigilante action – but I would urge Oriel College in the strongest terms to think about what message this statue sends in 2020, and to remove it."

At least 19 Oxford City councillors have also called for the statue to be 'immediately' removed in an open letter.

The Oxford Mail asked readers in a poll whether they were for or against removing the statue.

More than 3,500 people had responded as of this afternoon, with the majority (61 per cent) believing it should go.

A protest is planned in front of the statue tomorrow starting at 5pm.