Civil servants up in arms over ‘woke’ policies on trans inclusion and a calendar marking Pride Month

Some civil servants have signed a letter bemoaning the 'woke takeover' of Whitehall.

A group of senior civil servants have complained to the cabinet secretary that there is a “widespread woke takeover of Whitehall” because they’re expected to treat trans people with respect and staff from one department shared a Pride Month calendar.

In a letter from April signed by 42 staff from 16 departments, the group warned cabinet secretary Simon Case that trans inclusion within the civil service – which is described by the dog whistle term “gender ideology” – poses a “significant breach of impartiality” and could “improperly influence government policy”.

Case has held the positions of cabinet secretary and head of the civil service since September 2020, joint roles which position him as the prime minister’s most senior policy adviser and in charge of the country’s civil servants – a politically impartial workforce that serves the government. 

Examples of the “significant breach of impartiality” include videos on LGBTQ+ allyship, diverse training and staff from one department sharing a ‘30 days of Pride’ online calendar which contains information for each day of Pride Month

In the letter, which was leaked to The Telegraph, staff expressed ire that the concept that “everyone has a gender identity which is more important than their sex”. 

“Not everyone shares this belief,” the letter reads, “yet it is often treated as undisputed fact, and those who disagree are characterised as uninformed or hateful.”

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Signatories, including senior managers, senior lawyers and policy advisers, wrote: “We are concerned that the widespread incorporation of the concept of ‘gender identity’ into the language and internal policies of the civil service constitutes a significant breach of impartiality.”

The group – which represents a minuscule figure compared to the nearly half a million people employed by the UK civil service – added that staff who hold anti-trans attitudes face “serious harassment” at work and have a “pervasive fear” of being victimised for their views. 

Simon Case, cabinet secretary and head of the civil service. (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

“Many of us have experienced some form of professional disadvantage because we do not believe that the concept of gender identity is meaningful, or that it is more important than sex,” the letter reads, “Several of us have been through stressful and intrusive employment disputes.”

They feel Case must take “urgent action to ensure that civil service impartiality is upheld, and freedom of belief is respected” as they fear the government is being “distorted”. 

One signatory of the letter told the right-wing broadsheet: “There has been a widespread woke takeover of Whitehall that our most senior officials have swallowed hook, line and sinker.”

The civil service’s chief people officer, Fiona Ryland, met with the group over their concerns, but the letter was shared with The Telegraph by the group as they felt the response was “inadequate”.

Writing in The Telegraph, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg – a former minister for government efficiency – said the disclosures “must spur action from Case and ultimately the prime minister”. 

“It is completely unacceptable that the Civil Service has been politicised in this way,” Rees-Mogg continued. “The wokery in the Civil Service is designed to stop democracy working.”

A spokesperson for the government told The Telegraph: “The cabinet secretary and senior civil service leaders take the issues raised in the letter seriously.

“Our response outlines how the concerns that staff raised are being addressed, including through updated Impartiality Guidance.

“It also says that it is important that civil servants recognise the diversity of opinion on these issues.”