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Presidential campaign hots up with row over international membership

RIBA presidential candidate Peter Phillips has reacted with fury to claims that he wants to bring an end to the institute's international membership.

The single practitioner has issued a furious statement responding to claims that he would let the international side of the work carried out at Portland Place wither and die.

One critic from the US, writing on Ribanet

, attacked Phillips for his perceived lack of interest in events beyond Britain's shores.

'There are over 4000 RIBA members overseas,' the New England-based Brit said. 'They contribute approximately £1 million to the institute.

'If you get elected and decide to 'get rid of us' please explain to the UK RIBA members how you are going to make up that shortfall in the RIBA's income.

'Are you intending to raise their subscriptions?'

But Phillips has denied the accusation that he will let the overseas membership drop away to nothing.

He said the decline of international membership is simply inevitable because it is largely a legacy of empire, which has long since gone. He said: 'Most former colonies now have well-respected institutes of their own and so the RIBA is one among equals.

'Nowadays the majority of international members are probably expatriates working abroad who want to maintain their membership, and that's fine.

'But with fairly widespread disillusionment among UK members of the institute, if the RIBA was to spend more of its time and resources on international issues many might leave.

Phillips concluded by saying that he felt his views are a 'realistic and candid assessment' of the RIBA's role on the international scene in today's world.

by Ed Dorrell

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