'A Jumped-Up Milk Monitor': Keir Starmer Mocks Rishi Sunak Over Rainbow Lanyard Ban

The Labour leader went on the attack during angry PMQs clashes.

Keir Starmer has mocked Rishi Sunak for “confiscating lanyards like some jumped-up milk monitor” rather than cracking down on crime.

Esther McVey, the so-called common sense minister, announced on Monday that civil servants would be banned from wearing rainbow lanyards.

She said sshe was determined to take on the “left-wing politically correct woke warriors” in the public sector.

At PMQs today, the Labour leader said: “On Monday the prime minister treated us to his seventh relaunch in 18-months.

“He vowed to take on the dangers that threaten the country.

“So it was good to see the minister for ‘common sense’ immediately take up that mantle by announcing a vital crackdown on the gravest of threats - colourful lanyards.

“Doesn’t he think that rather than confiscating lanyards like some jumped-up milk monitor, he should stop issuing get-out-of-jail free cards to prisoners considered a risk to children?”

That was a reference to a report from the chief inspector of prisons on Tuesday which found an early release scheme meant some “high-risk” prisoners were being let out.

Sunak told Starmer that civil service impartiality was “an important principle that we are right to support”.

In a speech on Monday, McVey said the rainbow lanyard ban was part of a move to ensure officials stop showing support for “fashionable hobbyhorses” including equality for LGBTQ+ people.

But despite her comment, the new official guidance accompanying her speech did not actually reference lanyards.

Instead it simply told civil servants to “maintain political impartiality, regardless of their own political beliefs”.

McVey’s attack on lanyards was also not met with enthusiastic support from other members of the cabinet.

Grant Shapps, the defence secretary, distanced himself from the intervention, telling Times Radio: “Personally, I don’t mind people expressing their views on these things. What lanyard somebody wears doesn’t particularly concern me.”


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