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Mayor of London to be investigated by High Court over ban of Christian bus adverts during his election campaign

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Issued on behalf of Christian Legal Centre & Core Issues Trust

Press Release

For Immediate Release

05 March 2014 

Mayor of London to be investigated by High Court over ban of Christian bus adverts during his election campaign

The High Court today begins proceedings to decide whether the Mayor of London’s decision to ban a Christian bus advert supporting people with unwanted same-sex attraction, was politically motivated during the 2012 London Mayoral Elections.
Last month, the Master of the Rolls, Sir John Dyson, ruled that the High Court must re-investigate the case as the original judge, Mrs Justice Lang, was not able to fully examine whether there was a case to answer, because important emails had not been provided to the court. 
The Christian charity, Core Issues Trust (CIT), which represents people who want to move away from homosexual lifestyles, planned an advertising campaign on London buses with the slogan "Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!". The message was deemed by the Mayor, Stonewall and Transport for London, to be ‘anti-gay’. CIT had planned the advertisement in response to a Stonewall bus campaign which said, "Some People Are Gay. Get Over It".  The charity appealed against the ban and after losing that action, made a Freedom of Information request which revealed important emails not seen by Mrs Justice Lang. 
Today, lawyers for CIT are arguing that the Mayor should be summoned to attend the High Court in person and answer on oath whether he acted in his own political interests by banning theNot Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” advert, during the Mayoral election.  Lawyers will also ask for computers used in the Mayor’s office, and those of TFL, to be scanned by an expert to retrieve all emails related to the advert and make them available to the court. 
Boris Johnson has continually allowed Stonewall posters to appear on London Transport while banning CIT’s posters. The Master of the Rolls held that posters by both organisations were in breach of the Advertising Policy of Transport for London, but the Mayor has ignored this ruling and Stonewall has been permitted to display its advertisements. 
Dr Mike Davidson, Director of CIT says: “For Justice to be done, and to be seen to be done – especially when a powerful figure such as the Mayor of London is involved - it is essential that the court and public have confidence that nothing has been hidden.  We would like access to the Mayor’s emails, server and database to see if there has been any withholding of documents or amending or destruction of any information relevant to the case.  The emails we have already obtained clearly show there was political intervention for political grounds.
“This case is important because it tests the integrity of our public authorities and their use of power by the leaders of those authorities, to control the flow of information for their own political ends and to promote a particular agenda.”
The Court will hear that the use of the authority of a public office for party political purposes is unlawful. There are several legal cases which have examined this principle. However, this case has striking similarities to that of Lady Porter and Westminster Council where council house sales were ‘targeted’ in Labour wards.  This was deemed to be an abuse of her public position. While it was lawful to sell council homes, a local authority must adopt a neutral borough-wide policy and the allegation was that Lady Porter acted to improve the popularity of the Conservative Party.
Core Issues Trust contends that Boris has abused his position in power by promoting the LGBT agenda and prohibiting other viewpoints on the issue.
This case is the first where a public law Inquiry is being conducted by a private citizen, Dr Davidson. Counsel representing CIT, leading human rights’ lawyer, Paul Diamond, will argue that Dr Davidson has limited resources against the powerful public body. In the case of Lady Porter, an auditor inspected the workings of the case with full investigative powers to see all the evidence.  Paul Diamond will argue that the Judge should grant similar powers to Core Issues Trust.
For further information/interview:
Andrea Minichiello Williams:  07712 591 164
Garry Selfridge:  07545 696 207



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