A curse should be put on Northampton Borough Council for agreeing to sell a 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue, an opposition politician has claimed.
In August last year, the leaders of Northampton Borough Council announced plans to sell the statue of Sekhemka after it was valued at an estimated £2 million.
Leaders of the Liberal Democrat opposition group tried to block the sale this week by tabling a motion during a Guildhall meeting, calling for Sekhemka to be put back on display at Northampton Museum.
But the Conservative leaders of the council blocked their efforts, prompting Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre & Briar Hill) to declare they should be cursed.
He said: “I‘ve read there is a curse attached to Sekhemka and if it should fall on anyone, it should fall on this administration for not having the courage to change their minds.”
The council has said that if Sekhemka is sold at auction later this year, the money raised will be spent on restoring Delapre Abbey and expanding the town’s museum.
The leader of the authority, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) said: “It won’t be put back on display in Northampton again for security reasons and I would rather invest in our heritage than have a statue sitting in a vault that nobody can enjoy.”
Sekhemka was a high ranking Egyptian official.
His statue was made shortly after the Pyramids were built, in about 2,400BC.
It was obtained by the second Marquis of Northampton in 1850.
It was taken off display at Northampton Museum in 2010 when its value was realised.
Council officials said if it was put back on display, it would have to be guarded around the clock.
It is intended that money from its sale would be used to expand the town centre museum and improve Delapre Abbey.
Opponents have argued the council does not have the right to sell the statue because an agreement signed by the council in 1880 said any items donated to the town by the Marquis should be “restored to the Marquis or his heirs in as good condition as it was received” if they are no longer on display.
It is believed the statue is to go to auction later this year.