MP decries colourful lanyards worn by civil service and council

A senior Tory MP wants to see rainbow and other colourful lanyards banned in the civil service in a ‘return to common sense’

Esther McVey, who was born in Liverpool, said there should be a crackdown on the “back door” politicisation in Whitehall. This now includes doing away with rainbow and other designs of lanyards used to carry security passes, according to the politician dubbed ‘minister for common sense’.

Ms McVey, Conservative MP for Hatton, used remarks to the Centre for Policy Studies. The lanyards are regularly worn by staff at Liverpool Council who to date have not yet expressed an issue with the design.

Speaking on Monday, the GB News presenter said in a speech that the public are “relieved common sense is back on the political agenda so that policies can be rooted back in the practical, everyday concerns of ordinary people.” The MP, who was born and raised in West Derby and represented Wirral West between 2010 and 2015, took aim at what she called “left wing” academics and theories as she set out her stall.

She said, “Ladies and gentlemen, today is the beginning of a full-throttle common sense fight back where the beliefs and concerns of the ordinary person in the street will be solidified in the heart of Government.”

Ms McVey, who once said it was “right” and “positive” that struggling people were turning to foodbanks because they could not afford to eat, said this meant a crackdown on what people carried their passes around on in government buildings. She said, “We want work to be a happy inclusive place, not one where division can be sown and people feel pressured.

“I want a very simple but visible change to occur too – the lanyards worn to carry security passes 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.”

The MP also took aim at equality and diversity in the workplace, describing them as “fashionable hobby horses” and said no more contracts would be handed out for external diversity spending by government, including to organisations like Stonewall.

Image: Official portrait of Esther McVey MP CC BY 3.0

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