A Christian magistrate who lost his job and then his role as an NHS director for speaking out against adoption by same-sex parents will this week sue NHS bosses claiming political correctness can prevent Christians holding public posts.
Richard Page was suspended as an NHS Trust director after he claimed it was better for a child to be brought up by both a man and a woman.
Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) claimed his stance “undermined” the confidence of staff, particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees.
He is now bringing a claim of discrimination, harassment and victimisation against the NHS Trust Development Authority, a regulatory body, under the Equality Act 2010.
Mr Page, 71, from Kent, is expected to tell an employment tribunal that his faith put him on a collision course with the health service’s politically correct orthodoxy. The father of three is expected to warn that the loss of his job because of his religious beliefs signified a worrying shift away from pluralism towards ideological dictatorship in the health service.
The hearing, due to start on Tuesday at the Croydon Employment Tribunal courts, could have major implications for how public bodies treat staff who hold religious beliefs.
Mr Page had worked for 20 years as an NHS finance director before retiring and taking up a part-time role as a non-executive director at Kent and Medway in 2012.
While also working as a magistrate on a family panel in 2014, he opposed an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child, rejecting a claim submitted in a social worker’s report that homosexual couples made better adoptive parents than straight couples.
When he told the hearing that it was “generally in the best interests” for a child to have a mother and father, the court clerk and two other magistrates sitting with him lodged official complaints saying his Christian beliefs meant he was prejudiced against same sex couples.
Mr Page found himself embroiled in a very public row about the rights of Christians when the then Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove, and Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, criticised him for being influenced by his religious beliefs rather than evidence.