The government has told public bodies that they can't use procurement as a tool of political campaigning. There has been the predictable outcry from those who want to use public money to promote a geopolitical agenda, usually wrapped up in the now almost meaningless word "ethical":
“The Government’s decision to ban councils and other public bodies from divesting from trade or investments they regard as unethical is an attack on local democracy.
“People have the right to elect local representatives able to make decisions free of central government political control. That includes withdrawal of investments or procurement on ethical and human rights grounds."
I'm afraid not. For the very simple reason that it's not your money, it's not there for you to conduct political campaigns. In the case of the budgets for local government, NHS Trusts and other public bodies the money is there to deliver the services for which those organisations exist none of which is remotely connected to foreign policy. To use that money - at a cost to local people - to seek to change the policies of a government far, far away is truly unethical unlike the make-believe 'unethical' of the political campaigners.
And for those pension funds that these supposedly 'ethical' campaigners want to use for political purposes - that's completely unethical if not downright immoral. It really, really isn't your money - it's the pensions of millions of public servants and you've no right at all to compromise those people's future wellbeing for the sake of your political campaigns.
So the government is absolutely right to take it very seriously when local councils or other public bodies seek to prosecute their foreign policy using public money - especially when it runs counter to that government's foreign policy and to treaty obligations in respect of international trade.