Councils across Wales BANNED from using the word 'purdah' in case it offends Muslims
GETTY The word has been banned in case it offends Muslims who also use the term
It has been widely used for decades to describe a pre-election period in which official government announcements cannot be made.
But it also refers to the Islamic practice in some parts of the world where women are not allowed to be seen.
Panicked council chiefs across the border are now so worried about “religious sensitivities” they have decided to outlaw the word altogether.
Last night the move sparked bemusement in the principality with one leading MP describing it as “political correctness gone mad”.
David Davies, the Tory MP for Monmouth, said: “What a load of PC nonsense. What next? I expect we might soon be prevented from using the word homonym in case it upsets someone.
"People have been using the word purdah for years but are now banned in case some religious sect somewhere in the world takes offence. Quite frankly, it’s madness.”
Purdah prevents central and local government from making official announcements which could be viewed as advantageous to any candidates or parties ahead of an election. It typically begins six weeks before a scheduled election.
People have been using the word purdah for years
Purdah is derived from the Urdu and Persian word parda meaning veil or curtain and refers to the practice of screening women from men or strangers, especially by means of a curtain. It was later used in a political context.
Ahead of last year’s EU referendum the Government went into an official period of purdah between May 27 until the vote on June 23.
In Wales county council, town and community councils will be held on May 4 with formal notice of elections published on March 27.
GETTY Purdah originates from the Urdu and Persian word 'Parda'
The diktat means the word will be banned by the 22 principal councils in Wales. The window will now be called the “election period”.
Mike Harris, 54, an independent councillor on Torfaen County Borough Council, in Pontypool, said: “This is political correctness gone mad. It’s a load of poppycock.
"It’s another example of the liberal left anticipating a problem that’s not going to rear its head. It’s bonkers.”
Delyth Harries, assistant chief legal officer of Torfaen council said: “The guidance has been produced jointly by all monitoring officers in Wales through the monitoring officers group so that there is consistency of advice to all elected members across local government .
“The definition of purdah is ‘the practice in certain Muslim and Hindu societies of screening women from men or strangers’.
“Therefore it is the group’s view that it would be religiously insensitive to use the term.”
Steve Thomas, chief executive of the Welsh Local Government association, said: “We always use the term pre-election protocol because there are certain things we can and cannot do and a lot of people don’t know what the term purdah means.”