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Bus adverts

August 2014

The Core Issues Trust (CIT) is awaiting the judgement on its High Court claim that Mayor of London Boris Johnson not only supported a ban on the CIT’s bus adverts, but ordered Transport for London (TfL) to ban them.

At the beginning of July, the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), acting on behalf of the trust, which aims to help people who are seeking help to change their unwanted sexual orientation, challenged Mr Johnson’s decision.

The court heard that although the mayor had allowed gay rights group Stonewall to run its own adverts on London Buses, stating ‘Some people are gay. Get over it’, the CIT’s riposte was disallowed.

The CIT’s advert had read, ‘Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it’. At the High Court, the judge considered whether fresh evidence from the Mayor of London’s office showed Mr Johnson had personally ordered TfL to ban CIT’s bus advertisement and whether he did so for an improper purpose during his re-election campaign in 2012.

Although CIT’s original claim was dismissed by Judge Mrs Justice Lang at the High Court, CIT received, through a Freedom of Information Act request, documents that stated the mayor had ordered the ban.

The Court of Appeal sent the case back to Mrs Justice Lang to review and has made an order for full disclosure by the mayor and TfL of all relevant documents, although CIT believes some documents may be withheld.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the CLC, said, ‘This is suppression of free speech and expression by the political class. Mr Johnson and his high-level team are using their power to suppress a small Christian charity. The fact that the Court of Appeal ordered this case to be reconsidered by Mrs Justice Lang is an important vindication of the rule of law.

‘If one point of view is championed on London’s transport network, there must be room to display an opposing view. We hope the judge will recognise that this freedom was violated when the Mayor banned Core Issues Trust’s adverts’.






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