Cameron hails Gandhi statue a 'magnificent tribute'

A new statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled in London's Parliament Square today Credit: PA

A new statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled in London's Parliament Square today in what David Cameron described as "a magnificent tribute."

The Prime Minister and Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley were joined by Gandhi's grandson, the former governor of West Bengal, Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi, and actor Amitabh Bachchan in a ceremony to unveil the sculpture.

The Prime Minister said that many of Gandhi's teachings "remain as potent today as when he first made them".

"This statue is a magnificent tribute to one of the most towering figures in the history of world politics and by putting Mahatma Gandhi in this famous square we are giving him an eternal home in our country," Mr Cameron said.

The Mahatma Gandhi statue which was unveiled in Parliament Square, London today. Credit: PA

He added: "Our ties with India have remained close throughout history and continue to go from strength to strength - through mutual respect as equals, co-operation and trade, and of course through the one and a half million Indians who do so much to make Britain the country it is today, bringing our two countries closer, to the benefit of both."

The sculpture was created by Philip Jackson, inspired by a 1931 photo of Gandhi at No 10 Downing Street, where he met the then prime minister Ramsay MacDonald.

Mr Jackson said after the ceremony: "Starting a sculpture is really like starting a book.

"I read everything I could about him, I looked at all the available images there are of him. I watched the famous Gandhi film - only once, because I didn't want it to start looking like Ben Kingsley.

Mr Jackson is known for statues of the Queen Mother and the Bomber Command memorial.