Sunak appoints employment barrister to investigate Raab bullying complaints

Barrister Adam Tolley has experience defending government departments in employment tribunals
Dominic Raab. Photo: PA/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

23 Nov 2022

Rishi Sunak has appointed employment barrister Adam Tolley KC to investigate formal bullying complaints into justice secretary and deputy PM Dominic Raab.

The prime minister has asked Tolley to investigate two formal complaints about Raab, who "created culture of fear" at the Ministry of Justice according to multiple civil servants who spoke to CSW earlier this month.

Tolley, who has been appointed as an independent investigator, will establish the facts surrounding two formal complaints made on 15 November, one about Raab’s conduct at the Ministry of Justice and the other about his conduct as foreign secretary at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The terms of the reference for the investigation, published by the Cabinet Office today, state that the investigation should be completed as swiftly as possible.

Tolley will be supported by officials in the Cabinet Office, who will work under the direction of the investigator and in line with the Civil Service Code, the terms of reference said.

The independent investigator will report his findings to Sunak, who will have the final say on whether Raab broke the ministerial code and what, if any, actions to take. The investigation report will be made public.

Further formal complaints have been made since the two confirmed at the MoJ and FCDO, according to The Guardian. And No.10 told reporters that Tolley’s scope would not be limited, meaning if further formal complaints are made he would be able to add them to the investigation. They said he would also have access to all of the information – including emails and WhatsApp messages – needed to carry out the inquiry.

The Terms of Reference can be updated – at the discretion of the PM, in consultation with the investigator.

Tolley has previously represented departments in employment tribunals, including the Ministry of Defence Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Department for Transport.

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