Civil servants ‘are banned from inviting woke speakers who attack government policies’
- A memo circulated in Whitehall says checks must be done on speakers at events
- ‘Due diligence’ needed to make sure those invited have not attacked government
- The missive reportedly said screening has to protect civil service ‘impartiality’
Civil servants have been warned not to invite ‘woke’ speakers who attack government policies to Whitehall events, it was claimed today.
A Cabinet Office memo urges staff to carry out ‘due diligence’ on individuals before asking them to appear at internal functions.
The missive said the checks must be conducted to ensure ‘impartiality’, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
The move comes after a backlash at speakers critical of the Government being drafted in for Whitehall social or networking events.
Civil servants have been warned not to invite ‘woke’ speakers who attack government policies to Whitehall events
In one episode last month, a left-wing Cambridge academic was stopped from delivering a lecture at the Home Office after allegations emerged that she had made offensive remarks about Priti Patel.
Professor Priyamvada Gopal, 53, was invited to speak to government officials about her view that the department’s policies are linked with colonial history.
But the academic, who is professor of post-colonial studies in the university’s English faculty, said her invitation was cancelled at short notice.
One of her old tweets came to light in which she claimed Home Secretary Ms Patel held ‘anti-black attitudes’ typical of Indians who lived in East Africa.
The tweet said: ‘Priti Patel is also a reminder that many Asians in British Africa had ferociously anti-black attitudes and were used by colonial administrations to keep black populations in their place. An attitude she brings to government.’
Although Ms Patel was born in London, her Indian parents previously lived in Uganda and members of her wider family were forcibly expelled from the country in dictator Idi Amin’s anti-Asian purge in 1972.
In a statement on her blog, Professor Gopal said her tweet had been ‘far from being a racist statement’.
She added: ‘My criticisms of the hawkish present Home Secretary and her participation in anti-blackness are also a matter of public record. I had been under the impression that criticism of politicians was allowed in a democracy.’
Responding to the latest story today, Professor Gopal tweeted that she had been ‘cancelled’.
‘Proud to be anti this anti-people racist incompetent and vicious government. Say it again: Priyamvada Gopal is Anti Tory Government,’ she said.
The memo circulated in Whitehall from a senior Cabinet Office mandarin reportedly warned that ‘the relationship between civil servants, ministers and the public’ was at risk of being ‘adversely affected’ by failures to ‘retain impartiality’.
‘We recognise that it is not always clear to determine whether an activity is deemed political or if an individual has spoken against key Government policies,’ it said.
‘This is why all cross-Government networks must carry out due diligence checks on all speakers invited to events, and the content of any events and communications to ensure impartiality.’
In one episode last month, a left-wing Cambridge academic was stopped from delivering a lecture at the Home Office after allegations emerged that she had made offensive remarks about Priti Patel (pictured)
Responding to the latest story today, Professor Gopal tweeted that she had been ‘cancelled’
The note continued: ‘Networks and their members must complete such checks to avoid any invitations being issued to individuals and/or organisations that have provided commentary on government policy, political decisions, approaches or individuals in government that could be deemed political.
‘Commentary may have been made on social media or other outlets.’
The Cabinet Office said today: ‘Employees are encouraged to engage and discuss a range of different topics and perspectives, and all events must be consistent with the Civil Service Code of conduct.
‘We have reminded departments and staff networks of these expectations for events.
‘We have recently adopted an increased due diligence process for guest speakers in line with cross government best practice.’