The new leader of the Commons has issued a style guide for staff prohibiting words like “ongoing”
Jacob Rees-Mogg has told officials that they must use imperial measurements, give all non-titled men the suffix “Esq” and avoid a list of banned words and phrases.
In one of his first acts as leader of the Commons, Mr Rees-Mogg has given staff a style guide to follow when writing documents.
According to the guide obtained by ITV News words including “ongoing, very, hopefully, speculate, ascertain, disappointment, lot and got” are banned.
Staff should avoid “too many ‘Is’ ” in their writing, Mr Rees-Mogg will not be “pleased to learn” anything, he will not “note/understand your concerns” nor will he “invest (in schools etc)”, and the phrase “no longer fit for purpose” has been deemed no longer fit for purpose.
Other directions include a call for a double space after full stops and no comma after the word “and”. He said that there must be no full stop after Miss or Ms, and that all organisations are singular.
In a call for accuracy he told staff: “CHECK your work.” The Commons leader’s office would not comment on the leaked document last night.
He also said that there was no need to write “MP” after the names of politicians in the body of text. Other banned words and phrases include “unacceptable, equal, yourself, invest and meet with”.
The EU has issued several directives asking member states to use metric measurements. The UK, however, has been a late adopter of the system and continues to use miles rather than kilometres on road signs.
Mr Rees-Mogg, 50, makes clear that he would prefer staff always to use imperial measurements, most of which were phased out from the mid-1960s. The MP for North East Somerset is a prominent Eurosceptic who has been nicknamed the “Honourable Member for the 18th Century”. He is known for his formal dress and love of tradition.
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has taken a similarly rigorous approach with his officials. According to an email seen by The Yorkshire Post, he told officials to “pay attention to font sizes and margins” of any documents that he sees. He also imposed a two-page limit on information sent to him.
The email, which was sent out by senior civil servants to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), said: “The new secretary of state Grant Shapps has requested that submissions should be no longer than two pages with no exceptions and no annexes
“The submissions should set out the issue and the recommendation. The [minister] will come back for more information as needed. He will pay attention to the font sizes and margins of the document.”
Mr Shapps, 50, once said on social media that he had read the 599-page Brexit withdrawal agreement in one night, posting a picture on Twitter in which he was surrounded by ten empty coffee mugs.
The RDG is responsible for developing strategy and funding railways in England and Wales.
● Organisations are SINGULAR
● All non-titled males: Esq.
● There is no . after Miss or Ms
● MPs — no need to write MP after their name in body of text
● Male MPs (non-privy counsellors): in the address they should have Esq., before MP (e.g. Tobias Ellwood, Esq., MP)
● Double space after full stops
● No comma after “and”
● CHECK your work
● Use imperial measurements
● Banned words/phrases
Too many “I”s
“Invest” (in schools etc)
No longer fit for purpose
I am pleased to learn