THE LEADER of UKIP Wales has backed a campaign to save the Carmarthenshire monument of slave-trader Thomas Picton.

Neil Hamilton is urging people to sign a petition to save the obelisk in Carmarthen.

The MS for mid and west Wales has joined an increasing number of people who want to preserve the monument to Sir Thomas Picton, who is remembered for his role in the Peninsular War and for being the highest ranking officer killed at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He has also been denounced for cruelty as a slave owner.

Mr Hamilton said: “I appeal to everyone with any sense of history and perspective to sign the petition calling on Carmarthenshire county council to preserve this monument.

“The obelisk commemorates General Sir Thomas Picton, killed at the Battle of Waterloo. He was crucial to the British victory and winning the war against Napoleon.

“Napoleon reintroduced slavery to the French colonies in the West Indies and, as dictator of France, wanted to subjugate the whole of Europe. Picton was a hero of the struggle against him and richly deserves to be commemorated. Without him we might not have won at Waterloo and never have defeated Napoleon.

“Some ‘woke’ individuals want to destroy this obelisk because Picton was a man of his time and 200 years ago people had attitudes which are unacceptable today.

“No fair minded person can believe this monument endorses racism or slavery. It salutes Picton’s brave leadership and the life he lost at Waterloo.

“It is not up to the Cultural Marxists to decide which parts of our history we erase and which we remember.

“No-one in Britain condones slavery but attempts to whitewash history will not benefit race relations in this country.

“Removing this monument will be very costly. We have better things on which to spend money in the middle of the Covid crisis. Let local people have a vote as to whether they wish to spend their money on this cultural vandalism. ”

Carmarthenshire County Council is currently undertaking a review of the Picton Monument.

A petition calling on members of the council's task and finish group to let it stay has collected 1,700 signatures.