There has been a ‘widespread woke takeover of Whitehall’ that is in danger of “improperly” influencing Government policy, disgruntled civil servants have reportedly warned Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.
A letter to Case, which has been signed by 42 staff from 16 departments and leaked to a national newspaper, claims that gender theory promoted by trans activists has become so embedded in the Civil Service that it is now a “significant breach of impartiality”.
The letter was reportedly sent on April 18, but it has only now been leaked, as frustration over the perceived lack of action apparently grows. Case – who has served three prime ministers since being appointed as Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service in 2020 – reportedly delegated the reply to the letter to the Government’s head of HR. The reply came two months later, on June 30, from the Government’s chief people officer, Fiona Ryland.
She said she was “concerned” and agreed that gender-critical beliefs were protected under the Equality Act 2010 and should be respected. Her reply rep[ortedly suggested that planned Civil Service impartiality guidance would “provide greater clarity” and ensure that diversity and inclusion training was not biased.
The letter reportedly claims that the idea that an individual’s ‘gender identity’ is “more important than their sex” is now “treated as undisputed fact” by many who work in the UK’s main government offices. And it’s said to claim that civil servants who air ‘gender critical’ views – such as believing that there are two biological sexes that cannot be changed – have a “pervasive fear” they will be victimised for their views and suffer “serious harassment” at work.
And it also alleges that the operation of government is being “distorted” as a result – and its authors say “urgent action” is needed to “ensure that Civil Service impartiality is upheld, and freedom of belief is respected”.
Gender-critical beliefs are protected under law, by the Equality Act 2010. The act also protects people against discrimination on the grounds of gender identity.
However, the letter’s signatories claim that only gender identity rights are now protected by the Civil Service. It is understood that the Civil Service’s head of human resources has met some of the letter’s authors to discuss their concerns.
The Civil Service’s response did not appease the rebel civil servants. And now the letter – along with “extensive evidence of the way highly contentious beliefs are promoted in numerous Whitehall departments” has been leaked to the press.
The letter – which was reportedly also sent to all permanent secretaries, the most senior civil servants in each ministry – warns one of the core values of the Civil Service Code, impartiality, is being “ignored in respect of sex and gender issues”.
It states: “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. Several of us have been through stressful and intrusive employment disputes.”
The letter goes on to claim that the culture this has created in the Civil Service now “distorts the operation of government in many ways, and it is reasonable to be concerned that it could improperly influence government policy”.
One of the letter’s signatories told The Telegraph: “There has been a widespread woke takeover of Whitehall that our most senior officials have swallowed hook, line and sinker.”
Documents reportedly demonstrate show Civil Service employees staff have been told to avoid “gendered language” such as the phrase “mum and dad” – and asked to undergo training which insists biological men can use female-only facilities.
The newspaper claims Case and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak now face questions over their alleged failure to tackle the issue. Writing in The Telegraph, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said the letter: “Must spur action from [Mr] Case and ultimately the Prime Minister. It is completely unacceptable that the Civil Service has been politicised in this way.”
Whilst in Government, Rees-Mogg warned that “woke culture has entered the soul of the Civil Service” and drew up plans to curb the issue. However, he claimed his attempts to implement reform were blocked by senior civil servants.
“This obstruction and wokery cannot continue: it is designed, quite simply, to stop democracy working,” added Rees-Mogg.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “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.”