Jacob Rees-Mogg orders civil servants to use imperial measures and double spacing in style guide

Words civil servants told not to use include “hopefully”, “very”, “due to” and “equal”

Photo: PA

By Tali Fraser

29 Jul 2019

Jacob Rees-Mogg has issued a new style guide to his staff demanding all non-titled males be called esquire and ordering them to use imperial measurements.

The Commons Leader's new list of rules for staff, revealed by ITV, includes banned words and phrases such as “hopefully”, “very”, “due to” and “equal”, as well as “yourself”, “ongoing” and “unacceptable”.

Rees-Mogg’s aides are also banned from using “lot”, “got” and “I am pleased to learn”.


The list was sent out shortly after Jacob Rees-Mogg’s appointment as leader of the House of Commons by the new prime minister on Wednesday night.

Other directions included using a double space after full stops, and no comma after the word ‘and’.

The phrase “no longer fit for purpose” has also been deemed no longer fit for purpose by Rees-Mogg.

Rees-Mogg has used the words on his ‘banned list’ 1,189 times since he entered the Commons, according to Hansard, the report of proceedings of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

That does not count the times he has said ‘I’, which also makes the list.

Top of the MP for North Somerset’s list was his use during spoken contributions of "got" 930 times, followed by "very" being used 209 times, including twice on Thursday, then "lot" with 17 uses.

He also used his banned words of ‘equal’ and ‘yourself’ this Thursday.

Rees-Mogg meanwhile advises staff to always use imperial measurements, most of which have been phased out in the UK from the mid-1960s onwards.

The guidance was created by Rees-Mogg's North East Somerset constituency team a few years ago, but has now been widely shared among officials in his new office.

Rees-Mogg is chairman of the European Research Group, a group of hardline Tory Eurosceptics.

Other new ministers have also issued guidance to their civil servants. New transport secretary Grant Shapps has imposed a two page limit on submissions about the management of Britain’s railways, according to an internal email seen by The Yorkshire Post.

The guidance also stated that Shapps will “pay attention to the font sizes and margins” of any documents he receives from the department’s Rail Group.

The email, which was sent out by senior civil servants, stated: “The new secretary of state Grant Shapps has requested that submissions should be no longer than 2 pages with no exceptions and no annexes.

“The submissions should set out the issue and the recommendation. The SoS will come back for more information as needed. He will pay attention to the font sizes and margins of the document.”

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