Tracey Emin asks Downing Street to return her artwork after 'shameful' Boris Johnson scandal

Tracey Emin has requested for the removal of one of her distinctive neon works
Tracey Emin has requested for the removal of one of her distinctive neon works Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Shannon McDonagh
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The renowned British modern artist is no longer happy with her work hanging in the prime minister's official residence.


Renowned British artist Tracey Emin has requested that her artwork be removed from 10 Downing Street, labelling the government's behaviour as "shameful".

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson deals with calls to resign from members of his own party.

68-year old Emin – one of the most Britain's most influential living artists – confirmed she is requesting the removal of a pink neon sign, titled 'More Passion', gifted to David Cameron when he ran the country in 2011.

An inquiry is underway after evidence suggests Johnson and members of his team held parties and social gatherings when the rest of the population were told they couldn't visit their loved ones.

The artist confirmed the news via an Instagram statement, which reads:

"This is my neon that hangs at 10 Downing Street. It was a gift from myself to the Government Art collection.

I am now in the process of requesting that my artwork be removed from 10 Downing Street.

I feel More Passion is the last thing this present government needs. This current situation is shameful."

From 'More Passion' to 'More Compassion'

A host of British art figures and musicians applauded the move, such as gallery director Robert Diament, singer-songwriter Beth Orton, and Scottish performer Lulu.

Several other commentators advised that the sign be replaced with a work that asks Johnson to act with 'More Compassion'.

Emin was once supportive of the ruling Conservative party and claimed they were "the only hope for the arts" at a press night for her show at London's Hayward Gallery in 2011.

She later retracted her support for Cameron's leadership after he was ousted as Prime Minister, blaming his failure to stop Brexit as a key factor.

The outcome of her request to remove the piece from Johnson's official home will be revealed in due course.

The Government Art Collection dates back to 1899. It has museum status and operates under the remit of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

According to their website, they "collect works by artists who are British or have a connection to Britain, and place this art in significant locations; celebrating and showcasing the UK’s commitment to culture in the context of diplomacy."

The oldest work in the collection is one of the earliest surviving portraits of Henry VIII, painted sometime between 1527 and 1550.

Anger against the Prime Minister reaches boiling point

Boris Johnson remains defiant in the face of calls to resign from politicians and the publicAP

British senior civil servant Sue Gray is investigating claims that government staff held late-night soirees, boozy parties and “wine time Fridays” while Britain was under coronavirus restrictions in 2020 and 2021.

The allegations have spawned public anger, incredulity and mockery, and prompted growing calls for Johnson’s resignation.


Conservatives are weighing up whether to trigger a no-confidence vote in Johnson amid the public anger over the scandal dubbed “partygate” — a stunning reversal of fortune for a politician who just over two years ago led the Conservatives to their biggest election victory in almost 40 years.

So far, Johnson has dismissed calls to quit, but his defiant performance was met with muted cheers on the Conservative side of the House of Commons.

Experts say there is a good chance the investigation will neither exonerate him nor conclude he broke the law.

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