Pro-life charity seeking legal advice after being removed from Lambeth County Fair
A pro-life charity is seeking legal advice following the authoritarian and discriminatory removal of its exhibits at the Lambeth Country show last weekend.
Life charity applied to the show in January with full disclosure as to who it is as a charity. Following what, Life said, it can only assume was due diligence, the charity’s application was approved in April. Life provided the show organisers with information about the stall, pictures of similar exhibits it ran in different locations in London last year and a link to its charity website. Life’s objectives at the show were to educate people about the awe and wonder of life before birth and to promote its counselling, housing and practical support services to vulnerable women in crisis.
On Saturday 21st July, Life said it had a successful day with many positive responses. However as the evening progressed, a few people became aggressively vocal about the stall and challenged the charity on their pro-life position.
Life said it absolutely respects everyone’s right to their own opinion and ensures staff and volunteers are kind, compassionate and considerate at all times. The charity was reassured by the Show that its staff and volunteers were noted by security as being friendly, open and calm.
On arrival Sunday morning, Life found its marquee and all of its possessions had been taken down and completely removed from its pitch. A member of staff said Life’s staff had to leave the site as soon as possible. Despite having Life’s contact details the charity was not consulted prior to the organisers taking this action. The organisers told Life that the decision had not been made by them but by Lambeth Council. They would not give the charity 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 Life what those values were.
Since then Lambeth Councillor, Ed Davie 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.’
However, Life said this is a complete fabrication as the charity is able to provide confirmation of its official booking, payment and presence on the exhibitor list.
Anne Scanlan, Life’s Director of Education, 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 pro-lifers 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 pro-life 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.”
Picture: Life’s stall. (Life).