OXFORD MPs, leaders and campaigners have reacted to the news that Oriel College bosses want to remove the controversial Cecil Rhodes statue.

They agreed the board has made ‘the right decision’ and has listened to the ‘overwhelming majority’ who signed the petitions and marched outside on High Street to remove the memorial, over accusations he was a racist.

Here's a thread of ALL the events leading up to today 

And the group which has been campaigning for Rhodes' statue to come down has issued a statement of cautious optimism about Oriel College's announcement.

Rhodes Must Fall, the campaign set up to remove the statue and others like it across the world which pay homage to Cecil Rhodes, released a statement following the announcement.

It said: "We would like to thank all of those who have, over the years, contributed to the development of this decolonial and democratic social movement."

Oxford Mail:

The Rhodes Must Fall protest on June 9. Picture: Ed Nix

RMF Oxford added it welcomed the new inquiry, but said: "We have been down this route before, where Oriel College has committed to taking a certain action, but has not followed through: notably, in 2015, when the College committed to engaging in a six-month-long democratic listening exercise."

The statement added: "Therefore, while we remain hopeful, our optimism is cautious. While the Governing Body of Oriel College have 'expressed their wish' to take down the statue, we continue to demand their commitment."

RMF added it would continue to call for the removal of other 'colonial iconography' in the university.

It will also continue to campaign to 'decolonise' the curriculum at the university, and for better representation of Black staff and students, as well as more Black African recipients of the international Rhodes scholarship.

The shadow chancellor, who when pressed on live TV last week refused to say definitively whether the statue should stay or go, has now said she is ‘pleased’.

Oxford Mail:

Picture of Anneliese Dodds

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds said: “I am pleased to hear reports that Oriel College have listened to the overwhelming majority who have asked for the statue to be removed.

“Last week I supported Susan Brown’s calls on the college to apply for planning permission to remove the statue, and I hope they will do so shortly.”

Oxford Mail:

Oxford West MP, Layla Moran, who is in the running to be the next leader of the Lib-Dems, said that the statue represents a ‘burning injustice’.

She explained: “This is the right decision by Oriel College, who have listened to the concerns of the local community. Students from BAME backgrounds will no longer need to walk past a statue that represents a burning historic injustice. Oxford Mail:

A police officer stood outside Oriel College guarding the statue last week

"This statue should now be put in a museum where it can help inform people about Britain’s past.

“I hope this represents a true turning point and that other institutions will follow Oriel College’s lead and take down statues of slave traders and white supremacists. As the statue of Cecil Rhodes falls, the era of turning a blind eye to the wrongs of the past should come to an end.”

Oxford Mail:

Councillor Susan Brown, the leader of Oxford City Council, also welcomed the news.

Last week she called for the college to do things the right and legal way and put in planning permission.

She paid tribute to the Rhodes Must Fall campaigners who have protested for years for the statue to be removed, she added: “I welcome the news that Oriel College have come to the view that they would like the statue and plaque of Cecil Rhodes to be removed.

"Oriel’s formal review into the issues surrounding the statue and how to take forward the college’s commitment to diversity will be an opportunity for everyone to have their say on where this statue will best be curated in future.

Oxford Mail:

See: 15 pictures of the Rhodes Must Fall protest last week

"The City Council would welcome an early submission of a formal planning application from Oriel to accompany the review process and feed into it.

“I would like to pay tribute to the Rhodes Must Fall campaign who have seen their aims come a big step closer today, and also to the Black Lives Matter campaigners who have reinvigorated this debate about our history and how it should be recognised.”