Raab resigns warning of ‘dangerous precedent’
Dominic Raab: report will encourage spurious complaints
Alex Chalk, a former defence minister, has been appointed the new UK Justice Secretary, replacing Dominic Raab who has resigned after an inquiry found he bullied his staff.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded quickly to Mr Raab’s departure from the Cabinet, also naming former party co-chairman Oliver Dowden as Deputy Prime Minister.
Mr Raab, who held both posts and was a close ally of the Prime Minister, stepped down after a report was delivered to Number Ten by Adam Tolley KC.
Mr Tolley upheld two of eight complaints against Mr Raab who responded by criticising civil servants for being unable to handle “the pace, standards and challenge that I brought”.
The complaints covered his time as Foreign Secretary, Brexit Secretary and during his first stint as Justice Secretary.
ln a letter to Mr Sunak, he said he “undertook to resign, if it made any finding of bullying whatsoever. I believe it is important to keep my word.”
However, he said the report dismissed all but two of the allegations made against him and he warned of a “dangerous precedent”.
He said the investigation and report “will encourage spurious complaints against Ministers, and have a chilling effect on those driving change”.
Among a number of claims against him, Mr Raab was accused of throwing sandwiches at staff members in fits of anger.
He said that “Tolley concluded that I 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.
“I am 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.
“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”.
He referred to “systematic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims” to the media in breach of the rules of the inquiry and the Civil Service Code of Conduct”.
He concluded by saying: “You have proved a great Prime Minister in very challenging times, and you can count on my support from the back benches.”
Angela Rayner, Labour’s Deputy Leader, said: “Rather than showing leadership, the Prime Minister has proven himself too weak to give Dominic Raab his marching orders. He’s failed to root out bullying from his own Cabinet and he’s failing to deliver the integrity he promised.
“Rishi Sunak was personally warned about Dominic Raab’s conduct but showed appalling judgment by choosing to appoint him as his Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary. In just six months, this Prime Minister has already lost three senior ministers he appointed, showing himself utterly incapable of turning the page on 13 years of Tory sleaze.”
SNP Cabinet Office spokeswoman Kirsty Blackman said: “The Tories’ stand in Prime Minister had no choice but to go following the publication of this damning report.
“In his resignation letter, Raab referred to the Tory manual on apologies and showed no sympathy towards his victims – pointing the finger at everyone else but himself.
“Bullying in any form is unacceptable, no matter how ‘low the bar is’ according to Dominc Raab.
“There are still huge questions for the Tories to answer about what Rishi Sunak knew about the allegations against Dominic Raab when he appointed him Deputy Prime Minister. If he knew his right-hand man was a bully, then he is also responsible for his behaviour – voters deserve to know.
“Sunak must ensure this culture cannot continue and make sure his chosen Deputy Prime Minister never returns to government.”