Government moots loyalty oath for all public office holders

Posted On: 
18th December 2016

Anyone who holds a public office in the UK should swear an oath of allegiance to 'British values' to help fight extremism and promote integration, Sajid Javid has declared.

Sajid Javid the "building blocks of our society" were vital for public servants to play a positive role
Credit: 
PA Images

The Communities Secretary said civil servants and other public workers could not play a “positive role” in public life unless they signed up to the values of democracy, equality and freedom of speech.

Under the proposal councillors, school governors and other public sector recruits – possibly including those working in the NHS and the BBC – would have to commit to the oath and read it out loud before starting the role.

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It follows a report earlier this month which warned that segregation is hitting “worrying levels” in some parts of Britain.

The inquiry by Dame Louise Casey accused public bodies of ignoring or condoning discriminatory religious practices, particularly against women, for fear of being branded racist.

Writing in the Sunday Times Mr Javid said he was “drawn” to Dame Louise's recommendation to make public officials swear an oath of allegiance.

"If we are going to challenge such attitudes, civic and political leaders have to lead by example," he said.

"We can't expect new arrivals to embrace British values if those of us who are already here don't do so ourselves, and such an oath would go a long way to making that happen."

He said the new the new oath could include:

  • "Tolerating the views of others even if you disagree with them..."
     
  • "Believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from abuse..."
     
  • "A belief in equality, democracy and the democratic process..."
     
  • "Respect for the law, even if you think the law is an ass.”

Mr Javid said a "government-approved, one-size-fits-all identity" where everyone "drinks tea, watches cricket and bobs up and down at the Last Night of the Proms" was not the end goal.

But he argued that without the “building blocks of our society” people would struggle to play a positive role in Britain.