Five more Raab complaints added to bullying investigation

Eight complaints about Raab's behaviour in two departments now being investigated
Dominic Raab. Photo: Zuma Press/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

15 Dec 2022

Five more complaints against Dominic Raab will be investigated, No.10 has confirmed.

The prime minister has asked external investigator Adam Tolley to extend his probe into the justice secretary and deputy PM’s behaviour in various previous roles.

The five formal complaints relate to his previous stint at the Ministry of Justice and take the total number of grievances under investigation to eight, Rishi Sunak’s spokeperson confirmed.

Sunak’s decision to keep Raab in government has been questioned following the escalation in the number of formal complaints. 

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, suggested a civil servant would have likely been suspended if they had received so many complaints.

“Given the volume of complaints, if this was a civil servant – at any level – there’d be a legitimate question of whether they should be suspended pending the investigation,” he said.

And Conservative MP and former Tory chairman Jake Berry told TalkTV that keeping Raab in place was a “hard line for government to maintain”.

“In the real world, people will look at this and say 'it doesn’t feel right',” he added.

Meanwhile, Labour and the Lib Dems have called for Raab to be suspended or step down.

Asked how Raab could remain in the role, given the large number of complaints, the prime minister's official spokesperson said: "We think it's right there is an independent process, that the investigator looks into these claims thoroughly before coming to a view."

Sunak appointed employment barrister Adam Tolley KC last month, initially to investigate two formal complaints about his conduct – one at the MoJ and the other in his previous role as foreign secretary.

Last month, CSW reported several sources had claimed Raab “created a culture of fear” at the Ministry of Justice, accusing him of “belittling” civil servants.

Dominic Raab has rejected all claims, saying no one raised concerns about his behaviour in “any shape or form” until a formal complaint was submitted last month, despite allegations of bullying spanning years of his career.

But the deputy PM wrote to Sunak to ask him to launch an investigation after the first two formal complaints were submitted last month.

Raab 'blocked victims' commissioner appointment'

Raab has also been accused this week of blocking the reappointment of victims' commissioner Vera Baird.

Raab intervened to prevent Dame Vera Baird from staying in the watchdog role, which she had been told to reapply for in February in advance of her contract ending in June, the Guardian reported. Baird left in September after accepting a short extension, despite being found appointable for the role.

The deputy prime minister offered Baird a further contract extension until the end of 2022 which she declined and she was invited to reapply for her role, the MoJ said. 

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