Mayor challenged over bus adverts
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’.