Civil Service unions have angrily repudiated comments today by Conservative Party leadership and Prime Minister contender Liz Truss, who has claimed she will target ‘woke’ Civil Service culture that ‘strays into antisemitism’.
Speaking at a synagogue near Manchester, Truss said her plans were part of efforts to protect and support the British Jewish community.
In a written statement issued after she spoke Truss insisted the culture in the Civil Service could be “changed”.
She also pledged to review whether schools are doing enough to educate pupils and teachers about antisemitism, and said that university campuses must be “ridded” of the issue.
Truss said: “Every organisation has its culture, but it’s not fixed, it can be changed.
“That’s what ministerial leadership is about: it’s about making sure that the policies we represent, the values we stand for, are reflected in what we do.”
Responding to Liz Truss’s comments about “woke Civil Service culture that strays into antisemitism”, FDA general secretary Dave Penman said: “The Conservatives have been in government for more than 12 years now and, for most of that time, Liz Truss has been a minister. So accusations of ‘Civil Service wokeism’ are a little ironic, given it’s essentially a criticism of their own leadership.“However, Truss’s accusation of antisemitism goes further than the usual dog-whistle politics that has been on display during this leadership campaign when it comes to the civil service. She provides no evidence for her accusation that many civil servants will find both insulting and abhorrent. “A Prime Minister is also minister for the Civil Service, and throwing around such unfounded inflammatory accusations illustrates a lack of leadership, the very thing that she claims to be demonstrating.”
The FDA, formerly the Association for First Division Civil Servants, represents Whitehall policy advisers, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists and statisticians, government-employed lawyers, crown prosecutors, procurators fiscal, schools inspectors, diplomats, senior national museum staff, senior civil servants, accountants and National Health Service (NHS) managers.
A spokesperson for the Public and Commercial Services Union, which also has many members across government departments, said the union did not feel the remarks merited a response.