Patrick McLoughlin, UK transport secretary, gave a speech yesterday to the Association of Train Operating Companies marking 20 years since British Rail was privatised.
You can understand why the Conservative politician was keen to celebrate the achievements, as he saw it, of rail privatisation implemented by a previous Conservative government. But his department may have made a mistake by publishing his full, unredacted speech. Government departments in the UK are not allowed to publish “party political content”. But what else could this be:
According to guidelines from the Government Communication Network,
“it is not proper to justify or defend those policies [of a minister] in party political terms, to use political slogans, expressly to advocate policies as those of a particular political party or directly attack policies and opinions of opposition parties and groups (though it may be necessary to respond to them in specific terms)”
I’ve tweeted the Department for Transport and will let you know if they respond…