Furious Dominic Raab quits with blast at civil servants after bullying probe upholds two complaints

21 April 2023, 09:54 | Updated: 21 April 2023, 11:53

Dominic Raab said he was resigning as Deputy PM over a report into allegations of bullying
Dominic Raab said he was resigning as Deputy PM over a report into allegations of bullying. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Asher McShane

Dominic Raab has resigned as justice secretary and deputy prime minister over an inquiry into bullying allegations.

Mr Raab quit today, saying the inquiry "set a dangerous" precedent and would "encourage spurious complaints against Ministers".

It comes following the conclusion of an inquiry into bullying claims - with the report handed over to the Prime Minister yesterday. The full findings have yet to be published.

Mr Raab faced multiple complaints over his dealings with civil servants, including claims that he bullied and belittled staff, driving some to tears or even causing them to vomit before meetings.

Dave Penman, the boss of the FDA union, which represents civil servants, told the BBC: “"There are demanding bosses and there are bullies, and everyone knows the difference.”

The FDA went on to call for an independent inquiry into ministerial bullying.

Mr Penman added: “He was guilty of bullying civil servants, and therefore, had breached the ministerial code.

“His obviously reluctant tone and dismissal of the complaints says more about his conduct than any findings will.

“This resignation is not a vindication of the current system, it’s a damning indictment.”

Dominic Raab - In profile

Read More: Read it in full: Dominic Raab's furious resignation letter to the prime minister

Read More: Andrew Marr: Dominic Raab's future hangs on question of what is acceptable in the workplace today

Mr Raab said in his resignation letter that ‘spurious complaints’ would ‘have a chilling effect on those driving change on behalf of your government.’

He continued: “Ministers must be able to exercise direct oversight with respect to senior officials over critical negotiations conducted on behalf of the British people.

“Ministers must be able to give direct critical feedback on briefings and submissions to senior officials, in order to set the standards and drive the reform the public expect of us.”

Dominic Raab has quit over the bullying report. PM Rishi Sunak has yet to respond
Dominic Raab has quit over the bullying report. PM Rishi Sunak has yet to respond. Picture: Alamy

He wrote: "Dear Prime Minister, I am writing to resign from your government, following receipt of the report arising from the inquiry conducted by Adam Tolley KC.

"I called for the inquiry and undertook to resign, if it made any finding of bullying whatsoever. I believe it is important to keep my word.

"It has been a privilege to serve you as Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work as a minister in a range of roles and departments since 2015, and pay tribute to the many outstanding civil servants with whom I have worked.

"Whilst I feel duty bound to accept the outcome of the inquiry, it dismissed all but two of the claims levelled against me. I also believe that its two adverse findings are flawed and set a dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government."

He had previously promised to resign if the inquiry found evidence of bullying saying it is “important to keep my word.”

He said the inquiry dismissed all but two of the claims against him and hit out at the flawed findings, saying it sets a “dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government.”

PM Rishi Sunak received the report yesterday. He is yet to comment on the report.

Colleagues have claimed he could be “pretty belittling” and claimed he made on staff member cry.

Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, said: "There has been a toxic culture at the top of government for too long with civil servants and public trust paying the price for this chaos. The Prime Minister now needs to clean out the rest of the stables.

"These issues go to the heart of the anger and distrust many people feel towards the way our country runs. It is time for ministers to step up and to start restoring trust both for civil servants and the good of the country.

"It is never easy to speak out about abuse from someone in power and I would like to pay tribute to those who have had the courage to do so.

"This should be a wake-up call for ministers, that the way to deliver for the public is to respect and value public servants."

The Liberal Democrats demanded a by-election in Dominic Raab's constituency of Esher and Walton.

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