Boris Johnson's former adviser brands Dominic Raab 'robust' but refuses to label him a 'bully'

2 February 2023, 10:16 | Updated: 2 February 2023, 10:41

Lord Lister brands Dominic Raab 'robust' but defends him against bully claims

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

Following Dominic Raab’s denial of allegations that he has bullied members of staff, a former Chief Strategic Adviser to Boris Johnson has insisted he has never witnessed Mr Raab as a bully, despite his "robust" nature.

Former adviser to Boris Johnson, Lord Lister, told Nick Ferrari that Dominic Raab does not bully people.

Having worked with Mr Raab in the past, Lord Lister said: “He’s pretty robust, he’s not an easy man. He will tell you exactly what he thinks.”

“I’m sorry if people don’t like that,” he continued. “I don’t call that bullying, I’m of an age where you used to express yourself completely.”

READ MORE: Under fire Raab denies swearing and shouting at civil servant as PM accused of ignoring bullying allegations

After Nick also brought up similar allegations over former Home Secretary Priti Patel, he asked Lord Lister: “How would you describe the culture in Whitehall?”

“It’s not a bullying culture, that doesn't happen, I’ve never seen bullying” Lord Lister declared.

“You’ve never heard someone shout 'BS' at someone?” Nick asked, referring to one of the claims that Mr Raab swore at a civil servant.

“No, no I’ve heard people use a four-letter word about something, yes. The frustrations you get are enormous”, the peer replied, adding he has “never seen somebody have a go at somebody else”.

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Nick also asked if Jacob Rees-Mogg was “right” to suggest people were being “snowflaky” about it, to which Lord Lister said, “there may be something in that”.

“I've dealt with really difficult people, I’ve had shouting matches with people” he added, before saying there was “a very narrow line” between bullying and “robust rebuttal of something”.

READ MORE: Home Office spent £370,000 on settling top civil servant's Patel bullying claim

Lord Lister, who also served as former Chief of Staff for Boris Johnson then confirmed that people “shout at each other” but later “have a drink” to reconcile.

“It's a tense place, of course, people get worked up,” he said.

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