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by Louise Wilson
21 March 2024
Rainbow lanyards and badges banned for Scottish Parliament staff

Those who work at the Scottish Parliament must wear the parliament-issued purple lanyard and remove pins and badges | Alamy

Rainbow lanyards and badges banned for Scottish Parliament staff

Rainbow lanyards and other personal items which show support for social movements have been banned for Scottish Parliament staff.

This is to help “minimise the risk of perceived bias,” a spokesperson has said.

Those who work at the Scottish Parliament must wear the parliament-issued purple lanyard to display their pass and remove pins and badges from clothing.

The new policy does not include MSPs or their staff members.

In a statement issues to all staff on Wednesday afternoon, parliament’s Group Head of People and Culture Lorna Foreman said: “Wearing personalised lanyards and/or pins and badges showing support for social movements and towards campaigns or organisations has led some organisations and individuals to consider that the [Scottish Parliamentary Service] cannot be impartial when supporting the parliament to debate government policy, proposed new laws and current significant societal issues.

“This decision will help to minimise the risk of perceived bias and avoid any perception that wearing such items may be influencing our own decision-making.”

Staff can continue to where a pronoun badges or sunflower lanyards (indicating a disability), in line with the parliament’s trans and non-binary policy and reasonable adjustment process.

Pins relating to roles will also continue to be allowed, such as those who are first aiders or those who are Gaelic speakers.

Trade union pins and badges for “recognised” organisations can also be worn, in line with the trade union policy. Those are the PCS, Prospect and FDA unions.

But staff who have been wearing items for professional organisations or regulatory bodies have been instructed to stop wearing them.

Personalised lanyard use has been allowed in the parliament since 2017, but the new changes to the code of conduct follow a review.

Staff must comply with the changes from 28 March.

The announcement was confirmed by Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body member Claire Baker MSP in the chamber. She said: “A review of the code of conduct has just been completed. A decision has been taken that all staff must wear the parliament-issued purple lanyard – staff who are employed by the corporate body.

“This decision will help to minimise the risk of perceived bias and avoid any perception that wearing such items may be influencing our own decision making.”

The move follows concerns about visitors to the parliament being asked to remove items perceived to be political, including suffragette colours.

Tory MSP Tess White said that had given the impression that there was “one rule for some, but not others”. She added: “Policies of so-called inclusion are leading to the exclusion of women.”

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