MPs will be given lessons on woke language and history by consultants who declared the words ‘lady’ and ‘pensioner’ to be offensive.
Parliament has paid Challenge Consultancy £7,000 to design a course on ‘unconscious bias’ for MPs. In total the company, which has also trained BBC staff, has raked in nearly £800,000 from Parliament for conduct lessons in what one MP last night called ‘an absurd waste of taxpayers’ money’.
An outline of the training leaked to The Mail on Sunday says MPs will be schooled on words they should avoid and woke-friendly history as part of the training.
The consultancy uses a giant blue puppet called UB as part of its unconscious bias training.
One MP invited to take part told The Mail on Sunday they were ‘aghast’ at the amount Parliament has spent on the consultants.
The firm was paid £746,250 to conduct ‘valuing-everyone’ training, which focused on harassment, bullying and sexual misconduct, Parliamentary authorities told this newspaper, adding that another £9,000 was spent on ‘BAME work’.
It is understood the total cost of unconscious bias training could add another £700,000 to the bill.
PUPPET POWER: Femi Otitoju with ‘UB’ puppet, that is said to be used in the ‘unconscious bias’ training given to MPs in a course designed by Challenge Consultancy
The firm boasted that previous clients who received similar training include ‘people managers at the BBC’, Bafta and Oscar judges.
The MP said: ‘It’s a money-printing exercise. It isn’t about actually helping people – it’s about consultants getting richer.
‘So much more can be done with the money, like disabled access and sufficient toilets for women.’
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, said: ‘This is quite ridiculous. The idea MPs need to be trained to learn about British history is an absurdity. To get elected MPs have to talk to people. We don’t need someone to come along and tell us what unconscious bias is.’
Tory MP Neil O’Brien said: ‘It strikes me as an absurd waste of taxpayers’ money. We are to be treated like children. The idea that people need to go an expensive training course to learn how to be reasonable and respectful people is ridiculous.
‘If this company regards the use of the words “pensioner” or “lady” as unreasonable, it would be interesting to see what their take on British history will be.’
Challenge Consultancy said it would teach MPs to ‘understand, recognise and address their unconscious bias and that they may encounter in others’, and ‘develop their cultural competency’.
It said lessons on ‘respectful language’ will be one of the main pillars of the course for MPs.
The firm previously ran training courses for Scottish Parliament staff in which it included the words “lady”, “pensioner” and “girl” in a list of words that could offend. In addition, “West Indian” and “asylum seeker” were flagged up as potentially discriminatory.
It said some MPs did not speak up for Black Lives Matter because they were ‘unsure of how to frame their responses and anxious that they may be misrepresented’.
The training will involve two-hour sessions in groups of up to ten. MPs will get homework to ‘continue their learning’ and recommended reading on ‘historical context’.
Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) had to take a sexual harassment course, which was made compulsory for MPs and peers following a series of so called ‘Pestminster’ scandals involving male MPs
Run by the firm’s founder, Femi Otitoju, the sessions will combine presentations and interaction with the MPs.
Dates in October have been selected to train the members of smaller parties such as the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the DUP, with a view to then roll the scheme out to more MPs.
Cabinet Ministers are concerned that Whitehall is increasingly becoming ‘Wokehall’, government sources said last night.
This week Ministers revealed that 39,826 civil servants had received unconscious bias training in the past five years in four departments alone.
The figures were released in response to Parliamentary questions from Mr O’Brien to the Treasury, Cabinet Office, Home Office and Department of Health and Social Care.
He said: ‘The evidence is that so-called unconscious bias testing doesn’t work and may make things worse. But crafty consultants are pocketing large sums of taxpayers’ cash peddling this snake oil.
‘They are the dodgy time-share salesmen of our generation, but woke officials are lapping it up.’
A Commons spokesman said: ‘As part of our commitment to creating an inclusive workplace, we have offered unconscious bias training to staff for a number of years.’
Challenge Consultancy said more than 70 per cent of MPs took part in its valuing-everyone training, adding: ‘We have been helping organisations take positive approaches to equality, diversity and inclusion since 1988.
‘We deliver engaging training that helps people treat others fairly, create more inclusive and respectful workplaces and provide more accessible services.’