UK deputy PM resigns after bullying allegations

Dominic Raab UK Deputy Prime Minister has announced his resignation on Friday.

This comes after bullying claims against him were upheld in a report, a fresh political shock for Britain’s Conservatives.

During the investigation conducted by Adam Tolley, evidence was heard from multiple government officials about complaints of bullying at three different departments.

Raab denied claims he belittled and demeaned his staff and said he “behaved professionally at all times”.

He had, however, said he would resign if the allegations were upheld.

Raab’s resignation gives Prime Minister Rishi Sunak a headache some two weeks before local elections at which the Conservatives are expected to lose seats.

He is also battling to claw back a chasm of lost ground to the main opposition Labour Party before a general election next year.

Raab, who stood in for former Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he battled Covid in 2020, had promised to quit if any claims against him were upheld.

But even though he was cleared of most of the allegations, he blasted the conclusions of a lawyer-led inquiry.

In his resignation letter addressed to Rishi Sunak, UK prime minister, Raab said he decided to step down after an official inquiry found that some of the claims made against him were justified.

“I am writing to resign from your government, following receipt of the report arising from the inquiry conducted by Adam Tolley KC. I called for the inquiry and undertook to resign, if it made any finding of bullying whatsoever. I believe it is important to keep my word,” the letter reads.

“It has been a privilege to serve you as Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work as a Minister in a range of roles and departments since 2015, and pay tribute to the many outstanding civil servants with whom I have worked.

“Whilst I feel duty bound to accept the outcome of the inquiry, it dismissed all but two of the claims levelled against me. I also believe that its two adverse findings are flawed and set a dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government.

“Mr Tolley concluded that I had not once, in four and a half years, sworn or shouted at anyone, let alone thrown anything or otherwise physically intimidated anyone, nor intentionally sought to belittle anyone. I am genuinely sorry for any unintended stress or offence that any officials felt, as a result of the pace, standards and challenge that I brought to the Ministry of Justice. That is, however, what the public expect of Ministers working on their behalf.

“In setting the threshold for bullying so low, this inquiry has set a dangerous precedent. It will encourage spurious complaints against Ministers, and have a chilling effect on those driving change on behalf of your government – and ultimately the British people.

“I remain as supportive of you and this government, as when I first introduced you at your campaign leadership launch last July. You have proved a great Prime Minister in very challenging times, and you can count on my support from the backbenches.”

Raab is the third senior minister to leave the government since Sunak became prime minister.

Gavin Williamson resigned in November 2022 over bullying allegations, and Nadhim Zahawi, the conservative party chair, was sacked in January after he was found to have broken the ministerial code over his openness about his tax affairs.

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