The claimant sought to challenge a decision of the respondents to refuse to allow it to display a notice on buses said to be anti gay. The claimants promoted the view that, in accordance with the Scriptures, sexual relations should only take place between heterosexual married couples, not homosexuals, supporting those who are unhappy with their homosexuality to manage, reduce and where possible, eliminate homosexual practices and feelings. The advert was said to breach the respondent’s policies. The case had been rejected earlier, but additional information suggested, the applicant said, that a statury power had been exercised for an improper purpose.
Held: The caim was dismissed. ‘It is a general principle of administrative law that a public body must exercise a statutory power for the purpose for which the power was conferred by Parliament, and not for any unauthorised purpose. An unauthorised purpose may be laudable in its own right, yet still unlawful. The issue is not whether or not the public body has acted in the public interest, but whether it has acted in accordance with the purpose for which the statutory power was conferred.’ and
‘i) Mr Johnson was the Chair of the Board of TfL and, in his capacity as Mayor, he had statutory power to issue written instructions or directions to TfL. He did not issue either a written or verbal instruction or direction to TfL on this occasion.
ii) TfL made the decision not to run the advertisements. Prior to making that decision, Mr Everitt of TfL requested the views of the Mayor’s office and Mr Johnson communicated a strongly-expressed opinion that the advertisements were offensive and should not appear on London buses. Mr Everitt of TfL was strongly influenced by Mr Johnson’s opinion when he made the decision not to run the advertisements.
iii) Mr Johnson was not motivated by an improper purpose, namely, to advance his Mayoral election campaign.’
Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.535530