Official from National Highways is GAGGED because he believes safe roads are more important than celebrating ‘woke awareness days’ such as World Hijab Day

  • Paul Thomas claims he was banned from speaking out at the crisis-hit quango
  • He was curious about how the LGBT event related to the road operator’s mission.
  • National Highways’ executive officer, 58, has been with the company for 30 years

National Highways official who asked why the crisis-hit quango was celebrating “woke” awareness days rather that focusing on making roads safer said he was being gagged by his bosses.

Paul Thomas claims he was stopped from speaking out at his job after questioning whether a LGBT event held by the company was relevant to the roads operator’s mission of’manage and enhance England’s motorways.

The 58-year old executive officer has been with National Highways for nearly 30 years. He also raised concerns when the company celebrated World Hijab Day. This is a public celebration of the head covering worn by some Muslim women. 

“I pointed out that they shouldn’t be celebrating or condemning it.” They should be objective,’ stated Thomas, who posted his views on an internet forum.

A National Highways official who queried why the crisis-hit quango was celebrating 'woke' awareness days rather than focusing on making roads safer says he has been gagged by his bosses (stock image of the M5)

National Highways officials questioned why the quango, which was in crisis, celebrated ‘woke’ awareness days instead of focusing its efforts on making roads safer.

Paul Thomas claims he raised concerns when the company celebrated World Hijab Day, the head covering worn in public by some Muslim women (stock image)

Following harassment accusations by colleagues, bosses told him that he would be banned from commenting on any department forums or social networks for two-years.

It all happens as National Highways finds themselves at the centre of a safety crisis following warnings from an insider about how it is only a matter time before someone is seriously hurt or even killed by its smart motorways.

Relatives of victims killed on the roads – where the hard shoulder is converted to a live lane – have called for the immediate reinstatement of traditional motorway layouts to prevent further deaths.

Mr Thomas, the Brexit Party candidate for Leeds Central, claimed that instead of focusing on fixing the problems that plague smart motorways, the operator was fixated upon special awareness days.

“Every day, month, or week there’s a day to raise awareness of something in the world. They provide a comment section and all that I do is to question these things. Some find it too difficult to question these things, which is a sign that there is bigotry, malice, or some other kind of evil going on inside their heads. Many of these diversity awareness programs can be very divisive. They are what I call’soft segregationist’.

It comes as National Highways finds itself at the centre of a safety storm following warnings from an insider that it is 'only a matter of time until someone is seriously hurt or killed as a direct result' of its 'death-trap' smart motorways (stock image of the M4)

It occurs as National Highways finds herself at the centre of a safety crisis following warnings by an insider that it is only a matter-of-time before someone is seriously hurt, or even killed, as a direct consequence of its death-trap smart motorways. (stock image of M4)

‘They have set up separate workplace networks for LGBT people and BAME people – networks based on someone’s sexuality and skin colour. This is blatantly and clearly wrong.

Thomas said that he was not happy with the state-owned organization’s ‘undermining’ of its commitment to impartiality in political matters. “Part of my criticism is that it exceeds the wage-labor relationship, especially for a Government department.

A group of Thomas’s colleagues filed a grievance against him, claiming that his comments were harassment.

He said, “They had a go at my character and criticised me. That is fine. Suddenly they go down this scabby route of trying to get you in trouble with your employer… try to silence you with this process.’

Thomas stated that employers are overstepping the line after he was banned from work forums for two years. While there is a part of this with good intent, I believe they are coming from a place where they are genuine. But it threatens to split the workplace and is inherently autoritarian.

Elaine Billington, Highways England director of human resources, said that Highways England is committed “to providing an inclusive and safe work environment in which all employees are valued and respected.”

In August, National Highways was criticised for a reported £7 million rebrand that changed its name from Highways England – only six years after it underwent a multi-million-pound switch from the Highways Agency.