Christian 'driven from public service' after saying that children ideally need mother and father
A Christian who was dismissed as a magistrate after expressing the view that it was in a child’s best interests to be raised by a mother and father, has begun legal action after being blocked from returning to his role as an NHS director.
Richard Page, who has nearly 20 years’ experience as a finance director in the NHS, was suspended from his role as a non-executive director of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) in March.
The Trust said that in its view, Richard's expression of his beliefs about family life "will have a negative impact on the Trust, its staff and most importantly its patients."
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Richard is challenging his removal from the magistracy, and his barring from the NHS Trust, as an act of discrimination against him.
Barred from office
Richard has nearly 20 years’ experience as a finance director in the NHS, and served as a non-executive director of KMPT from 2012-2016.
When his tenure came to an end in June 2016, Richard expressed an interest to apply for a further four year term in the same position at the Trust.
But in August, Richard was told that a panel convened to consider his suitability to return to his role was unanimous in its view that "it was not in the interests of the health service for you to serve as a non-executive director in the NHS."
The panel believed that Richard’s actions, in expressing his beliefs about family life and in responding to his dismissal as a magistrate, were "likely to have had a negative impact on the confidence of staff, patients and the public in you as a local NHS leader."
Richard has been told that the panel's view will be taken into account if he applies for a similar role in the NHS in the future.
The panel had received only one complaint about Richard's views, but was made aware of more than 6,500 emails supporting him and protesting at his suspension.
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Richard has begun legal action against the NHS Trust Development Authority and the Secretary of State for
Health, for discrimination against him as a Christian and for his dismissal for expressing the lawful view that a child needs a mother and a father.
Richard is also continuing his legal action against the Secretary of State for Justice, claiming that his dismissal as a magistrate was unlawful and discriminated against him on account of his Christian beliefs.
'Driven from public service'
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, commented:
"Richard is being driven from public service simply for expressing the widely-held, lawful belief that children ideally need a mother and a father. First, the Magistracy, now the Health Service. Where will this end?
"Who wins from this situation? Society is being deprived of a long-standing, sacrificial public servant, simply because he has expressed what many people believe about family life.
"This is another in a growing list of cases where Christians are being squeezed out of different areas of public life simply for expressing their beliefs.
"This is harsh reality of how the current 'equality and diversity' framework is being applied and imposed. It is not bringing people together but driving them apart. The whole framework needs to be overhauled."
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