13/03/2016 08:34 GMT | Updated 14/03/2017 05:12 GMT

Magistrate Sacked In Gay Adoption Row To Sue Michael Gove

A Christian magistrate who was sacked after opposing adoption by gay parents on national television is planning to sue Michael Gove over the decision.

Richard Page, who sat on the family bench in Kent, was struck off for his "biased and prejudiced" views.

But he has pledged to take legal action and sue the Lord Chancellor through an employment tribunal.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting him, said: "He has made the decision to sue the Lord Chancellor for removing him from the bench.

"That will go through the employment tribunal system because he is an office bearer."

The 69-year-old was previously sent for retraining after saying during an adoption hearing that it would be better for a child to be brought up by a mother and father than a same-sex couple.

During a BBC interview in March 2015, Mr Page said: "My responsibility as a magistrate, as I saw it, was to do what I considered best for the child, and my feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and woman who were the adopted parents."

A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said his comments "would have caused a reasonable person to conclude he was biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters".

Mr Page criticised the decision as "intolerant" and accused Mr Gove of "pandering to the new political orthodoxy".

He said: "As a magistrate, I have to act on the evidence before me and quite simply, I believe that there is not sufficient evidence to convince me that placing a child in the care of a same-sex couple can be as holistically beneficial to a child as placing them with a mum and dad as God and nature intended."

He added: "To punish me and to seek to silence me for expressing a dissenting view is deeply worrying. I shall challenge this decision as it is deeply illiberal and intolerant."