Lambeth Council stomps on freedom of expression

Life is seeking legal advice following the authoritarian and discriminatory removal of the charity’s exhibits at the Lambeth Country show yesterday.

Life applied to the show in January with full disclosure as to who we are as a charity. Following what we can only assume was their due diligence our application was approved in April. We provided the show organisers with information about the stall, pictures of similar exhibits we ran in different locations in London last year and a link to our charity website. Our objectives at the show were to educate people about the awe and wonder of life before birth and to promote our counselling, housing and practical support services to vulnerable women in crisis.

On Saturday we had a successful day with many positive responses. However as the evening progressed, a few people became aggressively vocal about our stall and challenged us on our prolife position. Life absolutely respects everyone’s right to their own opinion and we ensure staff and volunteers are kind, compassionate and considerate at all times. We were reassured by the Show that our staff and volunteers were noted by security as being friendly, open and calm.

On arrival Sunday morning, we found our marquee and all of our possessions taken down and completely removed from Life’s pitch. A member of staff said we had to leave the site as soon as possible. Despite having our contact details we were not consulted prior to the organisers taking this action. The organisers told us the decision had not been made by them but by Lambeth Council. They would not give us an exact reason for the action but did say that Life was against the values of Lambeth Council and was not in line with the causes the council has been funding and supporting. However they were then unable to tell us what those values were.

Since then Lambeth Councillor, Ed Davie has posted on Twitter that Life “wasn’t officially allowed. They were not on the approved list of exhibitors, we tried to get them removed and will make sure not there today.”  This is a complete fabrication as we are able to provide confirmation of our official booking, payment and presence on the exhibitor list.

Life’s Director of Education Anne Scanlan said “Nothing on our stall was offensive. There were life-like fetal models and pictures of the unborn baby at different gestational stages which can be seen on any pregnancy website including the NHS. At a time when there is a clamour for free speech and allowing dissenting voices to be heard, we have a local council aggressively shutting down the voice of prolifers trying to reach out to vulnerable women in crisis and educating people about life in the womb. It is now routine and apparently acceptable, for anyone who dares to express any view that is not pro-abortion, to risk coming under vociferous and sustained attack for doing so. Our message at Life is delivered in a compassionate and caring way. Councils which try to shut down and silence prolife organisations like Life must recognise that they are doing a disservice to women in crisis who may need our help. Lambeth Council reportedly said we are against their values. We are curious to know what these values are and look forward to hearing a fuller and more detailed explanation, and hopefully an apology from the council for the distress caused to our Life staff and volunteers.”

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12 people are talking about Lambeth Council stomps on freedom of expression

  1. John de Waal says:

    Back in the 1980s I was a member of the Norbury LIFE Group and we ran a stall quite openly pro-life at the Lambeth County Fair every year without being banned - even when there was a very left-wing Labour council. Sadly in our more 'liberal' climate there seems to be less tolerance!

  2. John Fannon says:

    It is to be expected that the abortionists would want to shut down any visual representation of a baby in the womb. Perish the thought that a foetus has any humanity!

    The fight against abortion has many similarities with the fight against slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The slavers argued that the Africans had no humanity.

    In the late 18th century the potter Josiah Wedgewood who was part of the anti Slavery society produced a medallion depicting a slave in chains with the words ‘Am I not a man and a brother?’

    Later on, Thomas Clarkson who was investigating facts of the slave trade on behalf of the Society obtained a plan of slave ship which showed how the slaves were transported from west Africa to the West Indies and the USA 'like herrings in a barrel'.

    If slavery existed today, perhaps the abolitionists would not be allowed to show such disturbing pictures on the grounds that they might hurt the feelings of those who had investments in the slave industry.

    In the 18th Century slavery was part of the British culture. Sugar produced by the slaves on the plantations in the West Indies provided vast profits. Everyone from the highest to the lowest had shares in slavery.

    Today the abortion industry has society in an iron grip. It provides very comfortable and profitable careers for the abortionists and encourages promiscuity, courtesy of the taxpayer who foots an annual bill of over £100M.

    We don't know whether BPAS or Marie Curie sell baby parts like their counterparts in the USA, but then we are not allowed to know.

  3. Ian Holmes-Siedle says:

    I offer my heartfelt admiration of the courage shown by your Volunteers, staff and organisation in acting to spread the Good News and making themselves vulnerable to the crude bully-boy tactics of Lambeth Borough Council. Keep up your exposure of the Council's actions and they may yet find that they have shot themselves in the foot.

  4. Simon says:

    Was this premature closure of the Life exhibit within the rights of Lambeth Council, and whether it was or not surely they are, at the very least, in breach of contract?

  5. JE Howard says:

    You must surely mean 'stamps' rather than 'stomps'!

  6. william spring says:

    I want to know how much money the Labour Party now receives from BPAS or Marie Stopes. More than from the unions I think. This is today's Labour Party!!

  7. Charles van der Lande says:

    Just what are these people afraid of? Groups of people with an agenda to install values that are contrary to long standing Christian values of our society demand and succeed in ensuring their views are promulgated at all levels, including schools, but deny the right of others to express a different philosophy,

  8. Many mothers and fathers do not take a firm position on abortion and life-affirming choices until met with a crisis. Those who profit from abortion know that and will go to great lengths to discourage dialogue between ProLife organizations and young adults who have not yet been involved or wounded by a rash decision. Your booth was a threat to Marie Stopes bottom line and needed to be removed regardless of the embarrassment of the fair committee. Thanks you for your boldness and only God knows the life-affirming impact you may have had on the lives that you touched. God bless.
    Because a Child changes everything,

    George Gmitro

  9. Bea says:

    So proud to live in Lambeth!!

  10. Anne-Marie says:

    How bullying and disrespectful. It reminds me of working at Lambeth council where any attempts at discussion were instantly crushed. Very unhealthy.

  11. John S says:

    Your description of Ed Davie's tweet as a "complete fabrication" is generous. When people who oppose you have to lie, or shout you down so that you cannot be heard, you are winning. I know it doesn't feel that way, and I am so sorry that this has happened, but you are winning.

  12. Susanne M. says:

    Very embarrassing for Lambeth Council that they are so unashamed to shut down what is good and kind and declare the most beautiful miracle of life in the womb as something awful. How discriminatory against all pregnant women and mothers!

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