BY YANN TEAR
The anti-abortion group Life has agreed a £5,000 settlement with Lambeth council for damages following a wrongful eviction from the Lambeth Country Show last year.
The council will also foot legal bills incurred by the organisation in taking the matter to court. Life complained that on the second day of the country show, without forewarning or discussion, their stall was dismantled by the show organisers and its staff and volunteers were instructed to leave.
Their original application to attend had been approved by the council in April ahead of the show at Brockwell Park on July 20-21 last year. Life said that following the ejection, the council, and one of its councillors, made “false and misleading” statements about Life’s presence at the show, inferring the group had not received official permission to attend.
In a statement read in the High Court on Tuesday, Life’s lawyers spoke about the distress caused to staff and volunteers because of the “unlawful expulsion”.
They added: “To compound matters, Life was publicly defamed when Lambeth councillor Ed Davie erroneously claimed on Twitter that Life had attended the show without permission, as he vowed to ensure we were not there on the second day.
“Mr Davie and Lambeth council itself later tweeted that we had used inaccurate information to make the booking. All these statements were untrue. Life had provided accurate and detailed information about its organisation, and its exhibits on the stall when it was booked several months before the show. Its presence had been fully approved.
“These false claims by Lambeth, which were repeated in the London and national press, could have caused serious harm to Life’s reputation and undermined the charity’s wide-ranging work.”
A Lambeth Council spokesman said the settlement was reached with Life in October, but the details were only officially announced in the High Court on Tuesday, because the group wanted official recognition of its grievances rather than an out-of-court settlement.
He said: “Lambeth council and Life reached a settlement on October 12, 2018 in relation to threatened claims arising from the removal of Life’s stall from the 2018 Lambeth Country Show.
“Lambeth agreed to pay Life £5,000 in damages, publish an apology on Twitter and has undertaken not to publish, or cause to be published, the same or similar words to those originally tweeted by the council on July 22, 2018.”
Life has the public correction, apology and damages from Lambeth council it sought but has another interesting issue ahead: It has applied to the authority to attend this year’s country show.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.