ANYONE who has spoken out to criticise Boris Johnson’s policies has been banned from speaking at internal events in Whitehall, according to reports.

The Telegraph has reported on an email sent to government staff and marked “official-sensitive” which warned civil servants about inviting anyone who had “spoken against key government policies”.

The paper also reported that “woke” speakers had been banned, but this word does not seem to have appeared in the government communique.

Under the pretence of retaining “impartiality”, the email, reportedly sent by a senior Cabinet official, tells staff to carry out background checks to ensure speakers have not criticised the Tories.

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It read: “We recognise that it is not always clear to determine whether an activity is deemed political or if an individual has spoken against key government policies.

“This is why all cross-government networks must carry out due diligence checks on all speakers invited to events, and the content of any events and communications to ensure impartiality.

“Networks and their members must complete such checks to avoid any invitations being issued to individuals and/or organisations that have provided commentary on government policy, political decisions, approaches or individuals in government that could be deemed political.”

It says that such criticism may have appeared on social media or elsewhere.

Commenting on the news, Good Law Project director Jolyon Maugham (below) wrote: “What this note seems say is if you have criticised government policy you can't be invited to speak to civil servants. In other words, only those who haven't criticised government policy get invited.

“And this - which is inimical to neutrality - is presented as retaining it.

The National: Jolyon Maugham

“It's the conduct of a Government fearful of challenge, that responds to it by trying to silence the speaker rather than meeting the challenge, and that wields the power of State patronage to punish those who speak against the Government.”

He later added: “I remember being asked to address HMRC's counter-avoidance unit on tackling tax avoidance, something I was advising both Labour and the Conservative Party on. But I would now be banned from speaking.”

Others drew comparisons between the UK Government’s actions and the “cancel culture” condemned by top Tories such as Nadine Dorries.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson told The Telegraph: “Employees are encouraged to engage and discuss a range of different topics and perspectives, and all events must be consistent with the civil service code of conduct. We have reminded departments and staff networks of these expectations for events.

“We have recently adopted an increased due diligence process for guest speakers in line with cross-government best practice.”