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Dominic Raab: Two official bullying complaints filed against deputy prime minister

Top civil servant says Tory left staff scared to enter his office

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Wednesday 16 November 2022 11:06 GMT
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Dominic Raab and Rishi Sunak in the Commons
Dominic Raab and Rishi Sunak in the Commons (PA)

Two official bullying complaints have been filed against Dominic Raab over his behaviour at work, he has confirmed.

The deputy prime minister has been accused of losing his temper and throwing food across the room, with civil servants left too afraid to enter his office.

Rishi Sunak has so far stood by his deputy – previously emphasising that no formal complaints had been made against him.

But on Wednesday morning Mr Raab wrote to Mr Sunak to say he had "just been notified that two separate complaints have been formally made against me".

One of the complaints relates to the cabinet minister's time as foreign secretary, a role he held from 2019 to 2021, while the other relates to his first spell as justice secretary from 2021 to 2022.

In his letter Mr Raab asked the prime minister to commission an independent investigation into he behaviour “as soon as possible”. He said he would cooperate with the probe and abide by the outcome.

Mr Raab said he had been “blessed to work with a wide range of outstanding civil servants, in particular my brilliant and dedicated private offices”.

He added: “I have always welcomed the mutual challenge that comes with serious policy-making and public service delivery. I have always sought to set high standards, and forge teams that can deliver for the British people amidst the acute challenges that we have faced in recent years. I have never tolerated bullying, and always sought to reinforce and empower the teams of civil servants working in my respective departments.”

The Independent reported on Tuesday that the deputy prime minister was searching for a new person to run his private office, after a vacancy arose.

The exact nature of the formal complaints have not been disclosed, but on Tuesday Lord McDonald, the former head of the diplomatic service, said he believed staff working for Mr Raab were “scared to go into his office” because of his “abrasive” and “controlling” behaviour. The ex mandarin said he had spoken to the minister about this at the time.

A No 10 source said Mr Raab would still deputise for the prime minister at PMQs, while Mr Sunak is away at the G20 in Bali.

Responding to Mr Raab’s letter, Mr Sunak said he agreed that the complaints should be investigated.

A spokesperson for Mr Raab said: "The deputy prime minister has asked the Prime Minister to commission an independent investigation into two separate complaints that have now been formally made in parallel against him. The DPM holds professionalism and integrity as articles of faith and will cooperate fully with the investigation and whatever its outcome may be.

'"The DPM has brought determination, drive, and professionalism to each of his government roles, often in challenging circumstances, and remains committed to delivering for the British people.

"He has never tolerated bullying or unprofessional behaviour, and looks forward to answering the allegations made of him directly."

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