The statue of Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College is set to be removed by the summer and placed in a museum but a number of dons are determined to block the move, it has been reported.

The statue of Rhodes, a 19th century imperialist linked to the slave trade, has been shrouded in controversy for years.

The Sunday Times, which reported the news, said: "The clash will be the first big test case in the ‘culture wars’ over scores of statues, memorials and buildings, many in schools and universities, that campaigners want to topple or rename in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests."

Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, wants to protect monuments by law but some academics believe if Rhodes falls every other controversial memorial will follow.

A long-running campaign gained renewed attention last June after a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston was thrown in a dock in Bristol by Black Lives Matter protesters.

A protest in Oxford attracted thousands and resulted in the governors of Oriel College voting to take the statue down, reversing a decision they made in 2016.

In June the college launched a commission and a report, due to be released in January, has been delayed until the Spring due to a “considerable volume of submissions”, said the BBC.