Debate on Richard III "needs calm"

A York MP has appealed for calm in the debate over where the remains of King Richard III should be buried after the Dean of York had to refer hate mail to the police.

Hugh Bayley MP says the Government needs to appoint an independent panel to rule on where the remains should be re-interred.

The debate appeared good-natured at first but, according to Mr Bayley, it has now taken a more sinister turn after the Dean of York, the Very Rev Vivienne Faull, until recently the Dean of Leicester, received such abusive letters she had to pass them to the police.

I received many letters and emails from members of the public about this, supporting burial in York.

Most are thoughtful and well argued and based on scientific facts but some are frankly inflammatory and talking yesterday to the Dean of York, some that she has received at the minster are so extreme that she has referred the correspondence to the police.

I would say to everybody: calm down. Let's all respect the memory of a former king of our country. Let's discuss where his remains should be put to rest in a dignified and sober way. We don't want to reignite the Wars of the Roses.

– Hugh Bayley MP, York Central

Nine of the monarch's descendants have called on the Government to return the remains of the king to York for a "formal and ceremonial" burial, while a petition calling for his remains to be transferred to the northern city has been signed by more than 23,000 people.

Mr Bayley said:

The decision should be taken on independent national advice and not delegated to archaeologists from Leicester who clearly support the Leicester cause. They would find it outrageous if the decision was delegated to people from York. We need the decision to be taken nationally, in the national interest by people who are independent of the vested interests of either York or Leicester.

– Hugh Bayley MP, York Central

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Richard III

A team of specialists have discovered the body of Richard III - and a Leeds historian is piecing together just what happened to the man who gave battle in vain.