St Paul’s Cathedral gave the police permission to remove Occupy protesters forcibly from the cathedral steps on 28 February, the City of London Police Commissioner has revealed.
It is understood that this contradicts claims made by the cathedral authorities, who had denied they gave the police permission to remove people. But a letter from Adrian Leppard, City of London Police Commissioner, sent to London Assembly member Jenny Jones, was quoted by the Ekklesia think-tank as saying, ‘Permission was given by St Paul’s to clear the steps’.
He added: ‘Any persons remaining on the steps were not there with the permission of St Paul’s and in doing so they became trespassers’.
It had originally been reported widely in the media that Canon Pastor of St Paul’s Cathedral Michael Colclough said it was the Corporation of London rather than the cathedral which had given the permission.
Jonathan Bartley, co-director of Ekklesia, and Symon Hill, an associate director of Ekklesia, were among those evicted. Mr Hill said they are members of ‘Christianity Uncut’, a group campaigning against the UK government’s austerity measures.
In a statement, Mr Hill said, ‘St Paul’s Cathedral has given a strong impression that its instinctive loyalty is with the City of London rather than with those protesting against it’.
The news came as the new Dean of St Paul’s, David Ison, prepared for his formal installation in the post at a ceremony on Friday 25 May.