Life has instructed solicitors to begin legal action against Lambeth Council for defamation, breach of contract and interference with our right to freedom of expression following our expulsion from the Lambeth Country Show.
On the second day of the Lambeth Country Show, without any forewarning or discussion, Life’s stall was dismantled by the show organisers and our staff and volunteers instructed to leave. This was despite our application having been approved since April, three months after its submission. Following our ejection the Council and one of its councillors made false and misleading statements about Life’s presence at the show. They have now accepted that those statements were inaccurate and suggested that we were ejected from the show because of our use of foetal models on the stall.
In a legal letter sent by our solicitors on Friday, Lambeth Council has been informed of prospective claims against it for libel and the unlawful interference with Life’s right to freedom of expression, contrary to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which public authorities must comply with by virtue of section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998). Life is seeking a public correction and apology from Lambeth Council, an undertaking that our right to freedom of expression will not be unlawfully interfered with again and that the Council will properly engage with us in the future, and compensation for the harm to our charity.
Life’s Director of Education Anne Scanlan said “The beginning of human life in the womb is normal and worthy of celebration. This is what Life sought to do when it was stopped and ejected from the show, apparently because it showed educational models of the unborn baby (although different reasons have been provided at different times). When our right to celebrate the very start of human life is denied we have no choice but to stand up to those who wish to trample on freedom of expression. The actions of Lambeth Council represent a grave injustice which must be challenged if we are to continue to defend the right to life of the unborn child and promote support for the thousands of women who need our help in crisis pregnancies. We will ensure that the voice of the vulnerable and voiceless is heard in the interest of the common good and we refuse to be intimidated by the discriminatory actions of any person or institution.
Public displays of information about pregnancy expose the choice of abortion as a choice to end the life of an unborn child. Through the provision of practical support, we are promoting real, life-affirming choices, empowering women to continue with their pregnancy. This is what women need and deserve and we will continue to stand with them as we have done for 48 years.”