COMMUNITIES Secretary Eric Pickles ate humble pie yesterday after a judge ruled he unlawfully discriminated against Roma in a case pitting two mums against the might of Whitehall.
Single mother-of-three Charmaine Moore and disabled Sarah Coates, also with three children, had launched a battle against eviction from temporary accommodation on greenbelt plots in Bromley and Kent.
Mr Justice Gilbart found that Mr Pickles and his ministers had made no attempt to comply with the Equality Act 2010 while operating a systematic policy of calling in appeals by travellers and Gypsies to live on protected land for exceptional reasons.
Normally such cases would have been heard by planning inspectors.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed the judge’s findings.
“Planning decisions should be taken on the merits of an application, not the characteristics of the applicant,” it said.