Government workers in the United Kingdom are no longer permitted to use the term “Brexit” when discussing the government’s split from the European Union.
A new language style guide posted to the government website instructs employees to instead use the date “31 December 2020.” The term Brexit is only permissible for necessary “historic context.”
Civil servants in the country are also discouraged from using the phrase “transition period” to describe the period the E.U. and the U.K. spent negotiating the terms of the exit as well as their future interactions.
According to the published style guide, it is “better to use specific dates where possible.”
“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’.”
Last week, the government of Wales was sharply criticized for issuing similar rules to its civil servants.
“Brexit has happened. Use transition period to refer to the time between 1 February and 31 December 2020,” it said in newly released guidelines.
Civil employees in the country were also told to use the term “U.K. government” instead of “HM government” – an abbreviation for “Her Majesty’s.”
“Only last week we had ministers [canceling] women from sex education in Wales, and now they’re consigning Brexit and Her Majesty to the political correctness bin,” said Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservative Senedd, per The Telegraph.
“It’s a bonkers misuse of public money and a complete and utter waste of time,” he said. “Civil servants who are just looking to get on with their day job shouldn’t be subjected to such nonsense.”
The language rules come as the U.K. and E.U. clash over the rules governing the border of Northern Ireland.
The entities have been debating the Northern Ireland Protocol for months.
“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,” reports The Daily Mail. “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.”
Vice President of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic has publicly called the protocol the “most complicated part of the Brexit negotiations and is the foundation of the whole deal.”
If the E.U. does not compromise with them, officials from the United Kingdom have reportedly said they would invoke Article 16 – effectively destroying the rules completely.
Talks between the U.K. and the E.U. regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol are likely to continue in February.