Sunday 25 August 2019

'Unacceptable is a dreadful, weasel word' - Jacob Rees Mogg issues rules to staff listing banned words

Boris ally: Jacob Rees-Mogg believes Johnson will get UK out. Photo: REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Boris ally: Jacob Rees-Mogg believes Johnson will get UK out. Photo: REUTERS/Simon Dawson

David Hughes

Leader of the British House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg has issued a set of rules for staff in his office to follow, including a list of banned words and a requirement to use imperial measurements

Mr Rees-Mogg, who was brought into the British Government by Boris Johnson on Wednesday, wasted little time in issuing the guidance to staff.

According to the style guide obtained by ITV News, Mr Rees-Mogg insists that all non-titled males are given the suffix Esq and words including "ongoing" and "hopefully" are banned.

In a call for accuracy he tells staff: "CHECK your work."

Candidate: Boris Johnson is among the favourites to be crowned Tory leader and become prime minister. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
Candidate: Boris Johnson is among the favourites to be crowned Tory leader and become prime minister. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The guidance was drawn up by Mr Rees-Mogg's North East Somerset constituency team some years ago, but has now been shared with officials in his new office.

Other directions include a call for a double space after full stops and no comma after the word "and".

He also set out a series of banned words and phrases that should not be used by his staff.

They include: very, due to, unacceptable, equal, yourself, lot, got, speculate, meet with, ascertain and disappointment.

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.

Asked on his LBC show about the ban on certain words, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "These are for my letters.

"This list was drawn up by my staff.

"And when you read through a letter you see something that says 'it was very important', but, probably not actually, it's probably just important.

"'Unacceptable' is a dreadful, weasel word. Such an ugly word.

"It is used when people mean 'wrong' but they don't have the courage to say so.

"The use of the words is to hide meaning rather than to elucidate meaning, and, therefore you should use words that elucidate meaning."

Mr Rees-Mogg said that he was no longer being paid to present the LBC phone-in programme because he had become a Government minister.

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News