Esther McVey Bans Civil Servants From Wearing Rainbow Lanyards

Esther McVey bans civil servants from wearing rainbow lanyards

Esther McVey has been dubbed the
Esther McVey has been dubbed the "common sense minister". Peter Byrne - PA Images via Getty Images

Civil servants will be banned from wearing rainbow lanyards as part of a government crackdown on the “backdoor” politicisation of Whitehall.

Esther McVey, dubbed the “common sense minister” set out her plans in a speech in London this morning.

She said she was determined to take on the “left-wing politically correct woke warriors” in the public sector.

Rainbow lanyards are usually worn to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, but McVey told an audience at the right-wing Centre for Policy Studies think-tank that they would no longer be worn by the civil service.

She said: “I want a very simple but visible change to occur to the lanyards we use to carry our security passes [which] shouldn’t be a random pick and mix.

“They should be a standard design reflecting that we are all members of the government delivering for the citizens of the UK.

“Working in the civil service is all about leaving your political views at the building entrance. Trying to introduce them by the back door via lanyards should not happen.

“The focus should be on a happy and inclusive working environment and increased productivity.”

McVey, who was appointed Cabinet Office minister without portfolio by Rishi Sunak in November, has also announced a ban on consultancy contracts for equality, diversity and inclusion services on Whitehall.

She added: “We have too often seen them distracted by fashionable hobbyhorses, especially when it comes to issues like equality and diversity.

“People want the public servants to be getting on with the job of making their lives better, not engaging in endless internal discussions about ideology and I’m not prepared to see pointless job creation schemes for the politically correct.”

But Lucille Thirlby, assistant general secretary of the civil servants’ union the FDA, said: “Nobody joins the civil service in order to ‘impose their own political ideology’, as the so-called minister for common sense put it.

“Civil servants understand they serve the government of the day and have been doing so for a Conservative-led government for the past 14 years.

“At a time when the country is facing serious challenges, should the colour of a civil servant’s lanyard really be a ministerial priority?

“Equality, diversity and inclusion is a serious topic worthy of serious consideration and debate. Unfortunately, we got nothing of the sort from Esther McVey, who instead rattled off of a tick list of culture-war talking points.”