Mayor chal­lenged over bus ad­verts

The Church of England - - NEWS -

A HIGH COURT JUDGE has said that she does not think the full story is be­ing told about Mayor Boris John­son’s de­ci­sion to ban ad­verts on Lon­don buses by a Chris­tian Char­ity, Core Is­sues Trust (CIT), just be­fore the 2012 May­oral elec­tion.

At the time of the ban, the Mayor was about to ad­dress a meet­ing or­gan­ised by Stonewall. The ad­verts spon­sored by CIT were a re­sponse to a se­ries run on Lon­don buses by Stonewall. Stonewall has sub­se­quently run an­other se­ries on the Lon­don tube.

When the High Court orig­i­nally up­held the ban on CIT it did not see an email from Guto Harri, John­son’s Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in which he said: “Boris has just in­structed TfL to pull the ad­verts.”

The email came to light fol­low­ing a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest by CIT and led the Mas­ter of the Rolls, Sir John Dyson, to rule that the High Court must re-in­ves­ti­gate the ban.

Mrs Jus­tice Lang has now made an or­der for dis­clo­sure by the Mayor and TfL of all rel­e­vant documents re­lat­ing to his de­ci­sion to pull the CIT ad­verts. The or­der in­cludes emails, memos, in­ter­nal notes, re­ports and other rel­e­vant documents sent by the Mayor or any­one in his of­fice.

The Judge has also or­dered the Mayor, Guto Harri, and the Com­mis­sioner for TfL to pro­vide wit­ness state­ments say­ing that once she has seen the state­ments she will de­cide whether to call the Mayor to give ev­i­dence in court un­der oath. Once the wit­ness state­ments have been sub­mit­ted, Paul Di­a­mond QC, act­ing on be­half of CIT, has been granted per­mis­sion to ap­ply to cross-ex­am­ine the Mayor and his col­leagues.

An­drea-Wil­liams, CEO of Chris­tian Con­cern, ac­cused TfL of be­ing ‘hos­tile’, ‘ob­struc­tive’ and ‘cer­tainly not a model of trans­parency’. She hailed the judge’s de­ci­sion as ‘an im­por­tant vin­di­ca­tion of the rule of law’.

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