A former Conservative culture minister will chair a new body aiming to return the so-called Elgin Marbles to Greece, the BBC can reveal.
Lord Vaizey, culture minister from 2010-2016, says he is confident “a deal is within reach”.
On Thursday, the House of Lords will debate an act which restricts museums from disposing of objects in their collections.
The government said it had no intention of changing the law.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said: “The British Museum is prevented by law from removing objects from its collections, except in some narrow circumstances. The government has no plans to change this act.”
The Elgin Marbles are currently housed in the British Museum.
In a statement, the museum said: “We will loan the sculptures, as we do many other objects, to those who wish to display them to the public around the world, provided they will look after them and return them.
“Deepening public access and understanding, creating new ways and…