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Monday 13 May 2024

Esther McVey’s speech was a “tick list of culture-war talking points”, says FDA

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The FDA has criticised the government’s plans to significantly cut EDI spending in the civil service.  

During a speech at the Centre for Policy Studies thinktank, ‘minister for common sense’ Esther McVey called for the axing of EDI-focused jobs in the civil service, except those within human resources. 

McVey also announced an end to government spending on external EDI contracts without an explicit sign off from a minister, as well as plans to ban civil servants from wearing rainbow lanyards to express support for the LGBT+ community.  

Responding to McVey’s comments, FDA Assistant General Secretary Lucille Thirlby said: “Nobody joins the civil service in order to ‘impose their own political ideology’. Civil servants understand they serve the government of the day. 

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

Thirlby continued: “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 a tick list of culture-war talking points. 

“This speech provided absolutely no details of what the government audit of EDI roles has found or when it will be reported. Once that evidence is made available, we’d welcome the opportunity to seriously discuss its findings and engage properly with the facts.” 

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman also criticised McVey’s comments, saying: “You have to wonder why Esther McVey feels so threatened by a rainbow lanyard that it deserves so much of her time, when public services are on their knees and government departments are cutting back services.” 

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