- Raab resigns after two complaints against him are upheld
- Sunak loses a great third minister because of his personal behavior
- The report says Rapp should have changed the abrasive behavior
- Raab says the findings set a dangerous precedent
- He replaced Oliver Dowden as Deputy Prime Minister
LONDON (Reuters) – British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigned from the government on Friday after an independent report revealed he had bullied officials in the latest scandal to oust one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s senior ministers.
Losing a third senior minister over their personal behavior within six months would hurt Sunak’s bid to revive his Conservative party’s fortunes ahead of local elections in May, an embarrassment as Sunak promised to create an integrity government when he entered Downing Street in October.
Raab issued an angry resignation letter saying the findings of the report, which he said he acted in a manner that was “intimidating” and “consistently aggressive” while foreign secretary, were flawed.
But he made good on his promise to resign if any allegations of bullying were upheld.
“I have called for an investigation and have vowed to resign if I ever find out about the bullying,” Raab said. “I think it’s important to keep my word.”
Raab had no formal powers as Sinak’s deputy but stepped in as prime minister if he was out of Parliament or incapacitated. He has been a close political ally of Sunak and helped launch his campaign for prime minister last summer.
The results of the bullying undermine Sunak’s attempts to present his government as a clean break from Boris Johnson’s scandal-plagued premiership and the chaotic economic policies that brought down Liz Truss less than two months later.
Sunak said he accepted Raab’s resignation with great sadness and acknowledged his concerns about how the initial allegations about his conduct would be handled.
Attorney Adam Tolley’s five-month investigation into Rappe’s behavior heard evidence from government officials about complaints of bullying in three different departments.
The report concluded that Raab went above and beyond with his critical comments and was insulting the work done by officials in the Ministry of Justice, adding that he was rude but not intentionally offensive.
The report also found that while he did not swear or yell at colleagues, he was highly critical of the work of civil servants, calling the work of some officials “utterly useless” and “miserable”.
“(Rapp) has been able to orchestrate this level of ‘scraping’ since the investigation was announced,” Tolley said. “He should have changed his approach earlier.”
The 49-year-old Raab is part of a generation of politicians who rose to power after the Brexit vote in 2016. He was demoted as British Foreign Secretary in 2021 after he went on holiday to Crete as the Taliban moved towards Kabul.
Raab requested an investigation in November after formal complaints about his behaviour.
He apologized for causing any stress or unintended offense, but said the report “set a dangerous precedent” for effective government with a low threshold for what constitutes bullying.
In his letter, he said this “will have a chilling effect on those who are driving change on behalf of your government – and ultimately the British people”.
Oliver Dowden, a Cabinet Office minister and a key Senak ally, was appointed the new Deputy Prime Minister, while former solicitor Alex Chuck was appointed the new Minister of Justice.
Some conservative members of Congress said Raab did not deserve to lose his job. Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer accused Sunak of “weakness” for letting Raab resign rather than sack him.
Gavin Williamson, one of Sunak’s senior ministers, resigned in November after allegations of bullying, and the prime minister sacked Conservative Party chairman Nadeem Al Zahawi in January after it emerged he had broken ministerial law over his openness about his tax affairs.
Sunak faces his own investigation by Parliament’s standards watchdog over whether he correctly declared his wife’s shareholding in a childcare company that would benefit from the new government policy.
(Cover) Farouk Suleiman, Writing by William James
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