Dominic Raab has been at the centre of a political storm after it was revealed that two formal complaints about his behaviour have been made in government. The Deputy Prime Minister is now due to be investigated by an independent body which will determine whether or not Raab acted unprofessionally to members of staff.
Rabb is facing complaints over his behaviour towards Home Office Staff during his prior stint as Justice Secretary. He returned to the role when Rishi Sunak appointed him to his cabinet in October, and attended a committee meeting today (22 November) in which he was told the justice system could be under pressure amid criminal barrister strikes.
The newest spotlight on the Tory cabinet is another blow for the Prime Minister. Shortly before allegations of poor behaviour from Raab, Sunak was forced to defend the re-appointment of Suella Braverman to the role of Home Secretary - only six days after she was forced to resign over a security breach.
Sir Gavin Williamson, who served as Minister of State Without Portfolio and attended cabinet meetings, was also accused of bullying behaviour including by former Chief whip Wendy Morton after sending her an expletive-filled text message in regards to not being invited to the Queen’s funeral in September. Williamson subsequently resigned from the role in early November, however he “strenuously denied” the bullying allegations.
Raab has called for the investigation into his own behaviour himself, after writing to the Prime Minister to request an investigation into the two formal complaints. However, it has been now said by the Prime Minister’s spokesman that the investigation could look further beyond the formal complaints.
What is Dominic Raab accused of?
Details of one of the formal complaints were released by The Guardian. Raab is said to have acted “so badly and inappropriately” during a meeting with the Home Office that Antonia Romeo, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, was forced to apologise to staff on his behalf.
The incident is alleged to have taken place during his first term as Justice Secretary. Senior officials in Priti Patel’s Home Office department were said to have been contacted by Ms Romeo who expressed regret over Raab’s behaviour.
What has Downing Street said about the allegations?
Initially, there were fears that the lack of an ethics advisor within the government would harm the ability to conduct an investigation into Raab’s behaviour. However, Downing Street has confirmed that a “suitably qualified, independent person” will be appointed to investigate the allegations.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has asked for an independent investigator to establish the facts and provide their findings. In the first instance, we will appoint an investigator and then there will be the process.”
The spokesman added that the independent investigator will “decide what they do or do not choose to look at”. This points towards the possibility of the investigation going beyond the two formal complaints.
He added: “They will have a remit. I imagine we will be able to give an overview once an appointment is confirmed of what they will look into. Obviously they will be able to look into issues as they see fit.”