LEADERS at the Oxford College which houses the statue of controversial colonialist Cecil Rhodes have said they want to see it removed.

Oriel College's board met today and discussed the future of the statue of Cecil Rhodes on their building, facing High Street.

The board 'expressed their wish to remove the statue of Cecil Rhodes and the King Edward Street Plaque'.

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But before any action will be taken, an independent 'Commission of Inquiry' into the statue will be launched.

A statement from the college said: "Both of these decisions were reached after a thoughtful period of debate and reflection and with the full awareness of the impact these decisions are likely to have in Britain and around the world."

It added: "The Commission will deal with the issue of the Rhodes legacy and how to improve access and attendance of BAME undergraduate, graduate students and faculty, together with a review of how the college’s 21st Century commitment to diversity can sit more easily with its past."

According to the college, the commission it is planning will invite members of Rhodes Must Fall, Oxford University students, the city council, and other people living in Oxford to contribute towards its inquiry.

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It is planning to hold public meetings in a similar manner to a parliamentary select committee, where people can give evidence.

The college had been criticised in the 2015 Rhodes Must Fall campaign for prioritising donors who did not wish to see the statue removed.

Oriel's statement tonight said: "By setting up this commission, Oriel governing body is demonstrating that it is willing to be guided by all its stakeholders.

"The Governing Body believes that this decision will allow a serious, appropriate and productive resolution of a complex series of issues."

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Removing the statue of Cecil Rhodes has been the focus of the revived Rhodes Must Fall campaign.

Momentum for the campaign picked up in the wake of the toppling of a statue of merchant and slaver Edward Colston in Bristol, on Sunday, June 7 during a Black Lives Matter protest.

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