Gloucester Council apologises to Christian group

Gloucester City Council has apologised after it stopped a Christian group from handing out Christian literature in the city centre.

The group were handing out tracts in the centre of Gloucester last month.

They were told by council staff that the hand outs breached the city's by-laws.

The group was made up of Christians from 10 local churches who were distributing the tracts as part of Bible Day Gloucester.

The apology was issued following the threat of legal action from the Christian Legal Centre,

Roland Parsons, spokesman for Christians in Gloucester, said: “Christians in Gloucester believe that we have the basic freedom in Britain to hand out literature of a political or religious opinion to any other citizen in Gloucester.

“The city MP would not have been treated in this way if he and his colleagues were handing out political message literature at Gloucester Cross.

“The Bible Day this year featured the contribution of Gloucester's John Hooper to the freedom of all religions in Britain. We also refuse to live in a totalitarian regime where political and religious opinion is banned.”

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of the Christian Legal Centre, said the apology was a "victory for free speech".

"Gloucester City Council is to be commended for reversing their decision to ban the distribution of Christian literature," she said.

“The Christian Gospel is all about freedom and freedom has been upheld in Gloucester.

“So much of what we value as a nation stems from the teaching of Jesus. It is crucial for the good of our nation that his message is allowed to be shared unimpeded by local or national authorities.”