A pro-life charity is has condemned a London council over their “authoritarian and discriminatory” decision to remove their stall from a country show at the weekend.
Life says it has documentary evidence that Lambeth Borough Council had granted it permission to attend the Lambeth Country Show in Brockwell Park, and accepted payment for their stall.
However, when they arrived on the second day of the show they discovered their stall had been taken down before officials told their volunteers to leave. The show’s organisers said the council had decided to remove them because Life was “against the values of Lambeth Council” and was “not in line with the causes the council has been funding and supporting”.
Lambeth Labour councillor Ed Davie claimed on Twitter that the stall “wasn’t officially allowed. They were not on the list of approved exhibitors, we tried to get them removed and will make sure not there today.”
He then added: “It’s a community festival – that includes women who have had to make really hard family planning decisions who don’t want plastic foetuses in their faces.”
However, Life has accused Councillor Davie of telling a “complete fabrication”.
“We are able to provide confirmation of our official booking, payment and presence on the exhibitor list,” they said. They then posted that confirmation on their Facebook page.
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.”
Lambeth Council later claimed that the stall was booked “using inaccurate information”, although it did not specify the nature of the inaccuracy.
“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,” Scanlan said.
“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.”