Judge ‘not satisfied’ mayor told full story about ban on ex-gay bus advert

5 March 2014

A High Court Judge has ordered the Mayor of London to provide full, unedited copies of internal documents “in order to get to the bottom” of his decision to ban a bus advertisement by a Christian charity that helps people place their Christian identity over their same sex attraction.

Mrs Justice Lang who presided at the original appeal against the ban, today said, “I am still not satisfied that the full story is being told.”

Her comments follow the revelation of emails between the Mayor’s office and Transport for London (TfL) which were not seen by the Judge at the first hearing.  The emails were only revealed following the case after Core Issues Trust (CIT), issued a Freedom of Information request.

In her summing up today, the Judge said, “in order to get to the bottom of this,” she was making an order for disclosure by Boris Johnson and TfL of all relevant documents relating to his decision to pull the CIT advertisement.

CIT is a charity dedicated to helping people with unwanted same-sex attraction move away from a homosexual lifestyle.  Its advertising slogan said: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” and was in response to a slogan which was allowed on London buses, stating, “Some People Are Gay. Get Over it!” That slogan was placed by Stonewall who are opposed to providing help to people who want to move away from unwanted same-sex feelings.

The Judge also asked the Mayor to provide a witness statement and said she will decide on the basis of that statement whether to call Mr Johnson to court to give evidence under oath.  In addition, she has asked for a witness statement from the Mayor’s Communications Director at the time the decision was made, Guto Harri, one of whose emails confirms that the Mayor personally ordered the Christian advertisement to be pulled.  A further statement from Sir Peter Hardy, Commissioner for TfL, was required.

Her order requires the Mayor and TfL to provide the court with “full and unredacted” copies of all documents sent to or from the Mayor’s office between 12 April – 4 July 2012, which covers the period when Mr Johnson campaigned for re-election. He issued the ban just a day before addressing an election rally organised by Stonewall.

The Judge included in today’s order, emails, memos, internal notes, reports and any other relevant documents sent to or from the Mayor or any person in the Mayor’s office within the Greater London Authority, relating to the decision to ban the CIT adverts.

Paul Diamond, Standing Counsel to the Christian Legal Centre, who is representing the charity, has been granted the opportunity to apply for permission to cross-examine the Mayor and his colleagues once the witness statements have been submitted.

Andrea Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “This is an important vindication of the rule of law.  TfL has made it hard for us to get to this point; it has been hostile and obstructive and has certainly not been a model of transparency. TfL’s pursuit of costs against Core Issues Trust  is oppressive. The public purse chasing down a small Christian charity. 

“TfL’s continued promotion of Stonewall campaigns on its transport system is highly provocative and shows disregard for the Court’s judgment.”

Find out more about Core Issues Trust
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