'Let’s practise diversity and inclusion, not waste taxpayers’ money preaching it' Common sense minister says on diversity consultant costs

Monday 18 December 2023

The Government’s "minister for common sense" has said she is "looking carefully" at spending on the use of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) consultants.

Veteran Tory MP Esther McVey, who was given the unofficial title after her appointment to the Cabinet Office in Rishi Sunak’s last reshuffle, took aim at what she dubbed “wasteful” public spending in an article in the Daily Mail.

The MP for Tatton in Cheshire was seen as a prominent right-wing appointment by the Prime Minister with a mission to tackle “woke” issues in Whitehall.

She wrote: “I am looking carefully at the Government’s expenditure on external ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ consultants.

“To me the common sense solution is one set of guidance for the whole civil service to follow.

“Let’s practise diversity and inclusion, not waste taxpayers’ money preaching it.”

Spending on EDI has become a recurring bugbear for right-wing Tories, and promises to save public money by slashing such policies are likely to grow louder ahead of the next general election.

In December 2022, Ms McVey was one of 40 Tory MPs to sign a letter endorsing a Conservative Way Forward report that argued cutting diversity and inclusion officers could save the taxpayer more than £500 million and get back a million working days “lost” to diversity training.

The report also claimed the Government was supporting “politically motivated” and “anti-British” campaigns at a cost of £7 billion a year, and called for a review of spending on “woke” causes.