Don’t mention the B word! Civil servants have been BANNED from saying ‘Brexit’ and must refer to the date the UK left the EU instead
A Whitehall ‘style guide’ advises staff to avoid the word ‘Brexit’, arguing it should only be used when necessary for ‘historical context’.
Staff have also been told to steer clear of the term ‘transition period’ which refers to to the months when the UK and Brussels were hammering out the terms of their future relationship.
Civil servants have been told to stop saying ‘Brexit’ and to refer to the UK’s departure from the European Union using the date of ’31 December 2020′
A Whitehall ‘style guide’ advises staff to avoid the word ‘Brexit’, arguing it should only be used when necessary for ‘historical context’
The Government’s ‘style guide’ entry for Brexit, first spotted by The Telegraph, states that civil servants ‘can use the term “Brexit” to provide historical context, but it’s better to use specific dates where possible’.
It states: ‘For example, use: “31 December 2020” rather than “Brexit” or “when the UK left the EU”, “before 31 December 2020” rather than “during the transition period”, “after 1 January 2021” rather than “after the transition period”.’
The Government guidance is likely to spark a backlash from Brexiteer Conservative MPs.
The emergence of the ‘style guide’ entry came as tensions between the EU and the UK increased over the Northern Ireland border dispute.
The two sides have been locked in talks for months to try to agree ways to smooth problems caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Ministers have repeatedly threatened to trigger Article 16 of the protocol to unilaterally rip up the rules if the EU refuses to give ground.
Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary, has stood by that threat after she was handed control of the negotiations following the resignation of Lord Frost.
But her EU counterpart, Maros Sefcovic, has said the threat to trigger Article 16 is disrupting the talks.
The Vice President of the European Commission reportedly told the German newspaper Der Spiegel that ‘you try to achieve something together and – boom – there’s the threat of Article 16 again’.
Mr Sefcovic said the protocol is the ‘most complicated part of the Brexit negotiations and is the foundation of the whole deal’ in comments which are likely to be viewed in London as a veiled threat to scrap the trade deal if the UK acts to suspend the border rules.
The EU threatened to torpedo the post-Brexit trade deal with the UK if Liz Truss delivers on threats to unilaterally tear up border rules in Northern Ireland
Mr Sefcovic said that ‘without the protocol, the system collapses’ and this must be prevented ‘at all costs’.
The protocol was negotiated as part of the Brexit deal to avoid a hard border with Ireland, by effectively keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods.
But unionists have been pressuring for it to be scrapped because of the trade barriers it has created on products crossing the Irish Sea from Great Britain.
Brexit talks between the EU and the UK on the protocol are expected to resume next month.