Labour reportedly drops ban on ‘woke’ LGBTQ+ lanyards in civil service

Labour party rainbow lanyards

The government has reportedly dropped the ban on members of the civil service wearing rainbow lanyards.

Ministers are also set to consider whether or not to revoke guidance on Whitehall diversity and objectivity, which many saw as a means of moving the civil service to the right and made simply being LGBTQ+ a political view, the i reported.

Sources said the new Labour government’s focus is “on the work of delivering change – not lanyards”.

In May, Esther McVey, then widely known as the “minister for common sense”, criticised a “random pick-and-mix” of lanyards being worn in Whitehall, saying civil servants should be reprimanded for wearing LGBTQ+-themed decorative cords.

“We want work to be a happy inclusive place, not one where division can be sown and people feel pressured.” McVey said. “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.”

McVey, who is married to Philip Davies, who put a bet on himself to lose his seat in the general election – which he did – added: “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.”

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Labour are reportedly set to end the ban on LGBTQ+ lanyards being worn by civil servants. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

At the time, veteran Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who stood down at the general election, described McVey’s statement as “pathetic and retrograde”, in a post on social media.

“Being LGBT is not a ‘view’,” he added.

Lucille Thirlby, the assistant general secretary of the FDA union, which represents civil servants, said: “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 (EDI) 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. 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.”

Reacting to the news of Labour’s plan, McVey wrote on X/Twitter yesterday (10 July): “Hasn’t taken long for the Labour government to show its true colours and show its contempt for civil service impartiality.

“This is a dark day for the civil service. This overt politicisation will end in tears for them.”

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