Christian Magistrate taking legal action against NHS for dismissal over family views1 August 2017 Issued by: Christian Legal Centre
A Christian who was dismissed as a magistrate by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice, after expressing his view that it was in a child’s best interests to be raised by a mother and a father, is taking legal action after being blocked from returning to his role as an NHS Trust director.
Richard Page, who had 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 in March 2016.
The Trust believed that expression of his views about family life had “undermined” the confidence of staff, particularly LGBT staff.
At a preliminary hearing in January this year, an Employment Tribunal judge said that Mr Page’s case was “crying out to be heard.”
Mr Page, from Kent, is bringing a claim of discrimination, harassment and victimisation against the NHS Trust Development Authority, under the Equality Act 2010.
A four-day hearing will begin today (01 AUG) at Croydon Employment Tribunal.
He is being supported in his claim by the Christian Legal Centre and will be represented in court by Christian Legal Centre lawyer Pavel Stroilov.
‘Not in best interests of health service’ to serve on NHS Trust
Richard Page, 71, worked for various NHS Trusts over the course of almost 20 years, and his experience contributed significantly to the success of the organisations he was involved in.
In 2016, Mr Page appeared on various television programmes to defend his position that children should ideally be raised by a mother and father. He had expressed this view during a closed-door consultation in an adoption case while serving as a Justice of the Peace.
He was later sacked for serious misconduct from the Magistracy by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice, who said his comments suggested he was “biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters”.
Then in August 2016, he was told that an NHS panel, convened to consider his suitability to return to his role as a non-executive director, was unanimous in its view that “it was not in the interests of the health service for you to serve.”
The panel believed that Mr Page’s actions were “likely to have had a negative impact on the confidence of staff, patients and the public in you as a local NHS leader.”
He was told that the panel’s decision would disqualify him for any further appointment as a non-executive director of any NHS Trust.
The panel had received a single complaint about Mr Page’s views but was made aware of almost 7,000 emails supporting him.
Richard Page will tell the employment tribunal that his faith put him on a collision course with the NHS’s politically correct orthodoxy, and that the loss of his job signifies a worrying shift away from religious pluralism, towards ideological dictatorship.
Mr Page 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’
Mr Page believes that that he is “being driven from public service”, simply for expressing his Christian view of family life.
“It is quite extraordinary that I should have been dismissed not only from the Magistracy for holding this view, which I fully believe to be in the best interests of the child, but from the NHS as well,” he said.
“It seems to me that if this kind of political correctness continues, Christians will no longer be able to hold positions of public office unless they capitulate their deeply-held and once-mainstream beliefs to the new liberal orthodoxy.
“My case raises serious issues of freedom of belief and expression in the workplace. It could have major implications for how public bodies treat staff who hold religious beliefs.”
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Mr Page, commented:
“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 case is another in a long line of cases that demonstrates the intolerance of our illiberal elites. Far from promoting diversity they punish people like Richard who serves his community so well.
“This case shows the ugly face of the LGBT lobby that is incapable of tolerating anyone brave enough to challenge their lifestyle. The lobby will not be satisfied until they have eliminated any whiff of dissent in public life. They are the bullies.”