avoid-using-the-word-‘brexit’,-whitehall-style-guide-advises-civil-servants

Avoid using the word ‘Brexit’, Whitehall style guide advises civil servants

Whitehall style guide advises civil servants to avoid using the word 'Brexit' and instead refer to '31 December 2020' - Niall Carson

Whitehall style guide advises civil servants to avoid using the word ‘Brexit’ and instead refer to ’31 December 2020′ – Niall Carson

A Whitehall style guide advises civil servants to avoid using the word “Brexit” and instead refer to “31 December 2020”.

The guidelines say that government officials should only use the word when “providing historical context”.

Instead, civil servants are advised to refer to the date the UK left the European Union.

Officials are also told not to use the term “transition period” and instead use the dates during which the UK negotiated its departure from the EU.

The guidance has come to light just days after it was revealed that the Welsh government had imposed similar restrictions on its staff’s use of language.

The British Government’s language style guide, which is published on Gov.uk, the Government’s official website, states: “You can use the term Brexit to provide historical context, but it’s better to use specific dates where possible.

“For example, use: 31 December 2020 rather than Brexit or when the UK left the EU”.

Other expressions that are allowed within the guidelines are “before 31 December 2020” rather than “during the transition period” and “after 1 January 2021” instead of “after the transition period.”

Wales bans civil servants from using ‘Brexit’

The news comes after Wales’ Labour government came under fire earlier this week for “banning” the term Brexit and telling civil servants: “Brexit has happened. Use transition period to refer to the time between 1 February and 31 December 2020.”

The devolved government’s guidelines, which were first published in 2019 and revised in December, also insist civil servants use “UK government” rather than “HM government”.

Mark Drakeford's Labour government has come under fire this week for banning its civil servants from using the term 'Brexit' - Matthew Horwood /Getty Images Europe

Mark Drakeford’s Labour government has come under fire this week for banning its civil servants from using the term ‘Brexit’ – Matthew Horwood /Getty Images Europe

Another banned term is BAME. Instead of using the acronym for black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, staff are urged to use either “ethnic minority” or “ethnic minority community”.

Civil servants in Wales have also been told not to use the phrases “able bodied” or “vulnerable” instead they have been told to use “non-disabled”.

People with mental health conditions were also not to be referred to by the terms “mental patient, insane or mad”.

And those with dwarfism must be called “people with restricted growth or short stature”, under the Welsh government guidelines.

The terms “cripple” and “invalid” were also banned by the Welsh government.

The UK Government’s guide tells staff to “avoid passive, victim words” and to use language that “respects disabled people as active individuals”.

The official guide by the Cardiff-based Welsh government was drawn up for the 32,440 civil servants in Wales.

‘Bonkers use of public money’

Speaking to The Times, Welsh Conservative Senedd leader Andrew RT Davies said: “Only last week we had ministers cancelling women from sex education in Wales, and now they’re consigning Brexit and Her Majesty to the political correctness bin.

“It’s a bonkers misuse of public money and a complete and utter waste of time. Civil servants who are just looking to get on with their day job shouldn’t be subjected to such nonsense.

“And to be frank, the Labour Welsh government has much more important things it should be tackling, such as the chronic problems in our NHS, and our crumbling road infrastructure which continues to serve as a national embarrassment.

“Wasting energy on problems that don’t even exist sadly epitomises the current socialist regime we have in Cardiff Bay, who seem intent on imposing a woke ideology right across Welsh public life.”

One civil servant said: “‘Some of these rules are ridiculous – they are just words and phrases used everyday by ordinary people.

“It is a massive A-Z but the only one missing is W for woke. It is just getting so nit-picking, well if I was allowed to say that.”