Delay to planned Museum of Brexit is ‘collateral damage’, says founder
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A planned Museum of Brexit has been delayed due to 'rogue MPs and anarcho-legal activists', one of its founders has claimed.
A group of evangelical Brexiteers announced in April 2018 plans for a museum putting rosettes, pamphlets and other ephemera from the 45-year Leave movement on display.
Plans for a permanent tribute to the "struggle for the United Kingdom's independence" were set out alongside a call for people to look in their attics for memorabilia.
But one of the founders has now admitted that the much-vaunted plan is "collateral damage to what has happened politically".
Lee Rotherham, a Vote Leave campaigner, and one of the three men behind the project, said: "Just as Brexit has been delayed, so too has our timetable been disrupted."
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He wrote on the Brexit Central website: "A big part of that is simply down to the number of hours in a day. Everybody involved has been kept busy by the fact that we are also Brexit campaigners, and have been forced to remain so.
"Our first priority quite rightly has been to make sure that there is something to have a museum about.
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"In the meantime, the rollercoaster ride of the past three years just means that there is an extra room of stories that will need telling."
Lincoln and Sunderland had been mooted as possible sites for the collection, which its founders - Mr Rotherham, along with Gawain Towler, a former Ukip spokesman and Alex Deane, a Grassroots Out campaign executive - had said would "bring together a collection that will recall, for future generations, the story of the struggle for the United Kingdom's independence".
But Mr Rotherham said it was "almost as if rogue MPs and a medley of anarcho-legal activists have been implementing every scenario we came up with for our Brexit the Board Game and then went out to design additional blister packs packed with outlandish hashish-inspired scenarios".
The reference is to a Brexit-themed board game designed by Mr Rotherham and still available online for £66.37.
He added that there had been "more twists and turns distracting us than a trucker faces on the Death Road in Bolivia" but reassured people that "the museum project, despite Brexit's own stuttering lot, is alive".
The museum's site, which is still online, describes it as "an ambitious task", saying: "It will take a number of years for the museum to happen".
It adds: "We also believe that it is proper to allow some time for the country to heal politically. A little bit of a time gap will help the nation put Brexit in a more balanced perspective.
"Some wounds are still raw and we do not seek to aggravate them. But if we are to record the history, we do need to start work now."
Mr Towler said at the time of the launch that it had Nigel Farage's backing and could display some of his memorabilia.
"I know Nigel is a supporter of the project," he said. "I haven't got anything specific from him yet. Maybe an ashtray and an empty pint glass."
But it may well not boast the infamous bus carrying Boris Johnson's much-pilloried £350m-a-week claim.
Mr Rotherham said: "It was a hired bus. I thought about that. What we'd have to do is drop a line to the company about when they were looking at selling it.
"But then of course it would go for a premium, so I'm not so sure that would be value for money."
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