A statement from the Leader of the Council

2 months ago Fri 9th Jul 2021

Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council, 

"On 10 July 2018 Blackpool Council and Blackpool Transport Services Limited made a joint decision to remove advertisements promoting the Lancashire Festival of Hope, due to be held at the Winter Gardens between 21st & 23rd September 2018, from BTSL’s buses and trams. This followed complaints from some members of the public about certain religious beliefs, in particular concerning same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage, expressed (or believed to have been expressed) on previous occasions by the main speaker, Franklin Graham.

We accept that the advertisements were not in themselves offensive. We further accept that in removing the advertisements we did not take into account the fact that this might cause offence to other members of the public and suggest that some voices should not be heard. We also regret that we did not consult with the organisers prior to taking our decision.

We accept the findings of the Court that we discriminated against Lancashire Festival of Hope because of the religious beliefs of Franklin Graham and in doing so interfered with Lancashire Festival of Hope’s right to freedom of speech.

We sincerely apologise to the organisers of the event for the upset and inconvenience caused.

We have learnt from this experience. We are committed to ensuring equality of access and opportunity for the population of Blackpool and providing and improving quality services for all. We have now introduced clear and transparent policies that will ensure no repeat of events such as these.”