Peace campaigners facing eviction from Parliament Square were yesterday handed a last-minute reprieve by a Court of Appeal judge.
Lady Justice Smith granted a temporary stay on orders won on Tuesday by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, after the campaigners lodged their applications for leave to appeal ahead of a 4pm deadline.
The judge ruled that all the applications should go in front of a full court as soon as possible. The temporary stay will remain in place until that hearing. She said: "It is plainly in the public interest that this matter is dealt with expeditiously. I think also that this is a matter of some real public importance." No date has yet been set for the next round of the dispute, but it is understood that it will take place before the end of the legal term on 30 July. If leave is granted, the full appeal will follow.
What began in 2001 as a one-man protest by veteran campaigner Brian Haw has recently expanded to become a "democracy village".
Granting orders sought by the Mayor, Mr Justice Griffith Williams said there was a pressing social need not to permit an indefinite camped protest on the site for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others to access all of Parliament Square gardens.