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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Dominic Raab Criticizes ‘Flawed’ Bullying Inquiry and Resigns

Dominic Raab, the former deputy prime minister, and justice secretary, has resigned following a five-month inquiry into allegations of bullying made against him by 24 people. The investigation was conducted by senior lawyer Adam Tolley and was set up by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak after complaints about Raab’s behavior. In a letter to Sunak, Raab stated that he would resign if the inquiry “made any finding of bullying whatsoever.” The investigation dismissed all but two of the claims against him, which Raab criticized as flawed and setting a dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government. The report on the inquiry is yet to be published by the government.

Raab’s resignation means that the prime minister must appoint a new justice secretary. Raab’s departure is the third resignation of a cabinet minister since Sunak became prime minister. Labour has accused Sunak of being weak for failing to sack Raab. The Liberal Democrats have called for a by-election for Raab’s Esher and Walton seat, calling him “unfit to represent his constituents in Parliament.”

In his resignation letter, Raab maintained that ministers must be able to give direct critical feedback on briefings and submissions to senior officials to set the standards and drive reform. He apologized for any “unintended” stress caused but attributed this to the “pace, standards, and challenge” he brought to the Ministry of Justice. Raab accused some civil servants of “systematic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims” and claimed a senior official initiated a “coercive removal” of some of his private secretaries last year.

The FDA, a union representing civil servants, has called for an independent inquiry into ministerial bullying following the Raab investigation. FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said Raab’s resignation was a “damning indictment” of the process for enforcing religious standards within the government.

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