In major blow to Rishi Sunak, UK deputy PM Dominic Raab tenders resignation after bullying charges

In major blow to Rishi Sunak, UK deputy PM Dominic Raab tenders resignation after bullying charges

The claims against him included allegations of belittling and bullying civil servants, causing some to cry or vomit before meetings, and he had faced multiple formal complaints.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, April 21, 2023, 03:58 PM IST
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Dominic Raab |

After facing allegations of bullying behavior in the Ministry of Justice and other Whitehall departments, Dominic Raab has resigned from his position as United Kingdom's Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.

Several formal complaints had been made against the senior Conservative MP regarding his conduct with civil servants. The complaints included allegations, first reported by the Guardian, that he had bullied and belittled staff, causing some to cry or feel physically ill before meetings.

Raab's resignation is a significant setback for Rishi Sunak, who may face scrutiny over his decision to keep Raab in his position while the investigation, led by prominent employment barrister Adam Tolley KC, took place.

What did Raab say in his resignation letter?

Raab resigned from his position and in his resignation letter, he mentioned that the report's conclusions on his conduct were a "dangerous precedent", but he wanted to keep his word about resigning if the report found against him.

He revealed that the report only upheld two of the claims made against him, and criticized the flawed findings, which he believed could set a dangerous precedent for good government conduct.

He defended ministers being able “give direct critical feedback on briefings and submissions … in order to set the standards and drive the reform the public expect of us”.

However, he said he was “genuinely sorry for any unintended stress or offence that any officials felt, as a result of the pace, standards and challenge that I brought to the Ministry of Justice”.

Raab claimed that the report against him found that he had “not once, in four and a half years, sworn or shouted at anyone, let alone thrown anything or otherwise physically intimidated anyone, nor intentionally sought to belittle anyone”.

Slamming the case against him, he said that “in setting the threshold for bullying so low, this inquiry has set a dangerous precedent”.

“It will encourage spurious complaints against ministers, and have a chilling effect on those driving change on behalf of your government – and ultimately the British people," he went on to add.

He also said he had raised with Sunak “a number of improprieties” about the review into his conduct, including “the systemic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims to the media” in breach of the inquiry rules and civil service code.

Charges against Raab

The claims against him included allegations of belittling and bullying civil servants, causing some to cry or vomit before meetings, and he had faced multiple formal complaints.

The fact that Raab was allowed to remain in his position while an investigation was carried out by a leading employment barrister, Adam Tolley KC, has raised questions about Rishi Sunak's judgment, and some Conservative MPs are concerned that his handling of the matter will undermine his promise to bring "integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level" to his government.

Raab has consistently denied the allegations of bullying, including those made against him while he served as Foreign Secretary and Brexit Secretary, and has stated that he intends to contest the formal complaints against him vigorously.

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