“No longer fit for purpose” is no longer fit for purpose

Saturday, 27 July, 2019

A list of rules has been sent to the staff of the new Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, asking them to stop using words such as “hopefully” and phrases such as “no longer fit for purpose”. The guidelines, obtained by ITV news, were drawn up by the North East Somerset MP’s constituency team years ago, but have now been shared with staff in Westminster. It should be noted that as chair of the European Research Group, a hard-Brexit Tory backbench alliance, Rees-Mogg has become increasingly influential in Parliament in recent years.

Much ridiculed already by the PC crowd, the Rees-Mogg guidelines contain a vital call for accuracy. Staff are told: “CHECK your work.” Other directions include “Organisations are SINGULAR” and a request for no comma after the word “and”. Among the words and phrases considered unacceptable are: “very”, “due to” and “ongoing”, as well as “equal”, “yourself” and “unacceptable. “Rees-Mogg’s aides are also barred the use of “lot”, “got” and “I am pleased to learn”. Much of this is admirable, much is personal taste, but a double space after a full stop made more sense when people used typewriters. Still, much can be clarified and communications can be improved if a style guide, especially one that’s fit for purpose, is used from the outset in an important office.

Jacob Rees-Mogg style guide

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