Dominic Raab ‘will be toast’ at end of bullying probe, as deputy PM urged to step aside
Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab will have no choice but to resign at the end of the independent inquiry into bullying allegations, it has been claimed.
A senior Cabinet Office official told colleagues that Mr Raab is “toast” when the process concludes later this month, according to The Sunday Times.
Officials close to Adam Tolley KC’s probe are said to have been “shocked” by some of the claims – including staff being sick before meetings with Mr Raab and regularly left in tears.
The lawyer is now expected to finish the inquiry and publish his conclusion before parliament’s Easter recess on March 30.
It comes as Mark Serwotka, general secretary of PCS civil service union, said Mr Raab should “step aside” from his cabinet roles – or be suspended – until the investigation into alleged bullying has concluded.
Mr Serwotka told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “While Dominic Raab is going through a process, we know that Priti Patel was found to have bullied civil servants in the Home Office yet she got away with hardly a sanction.”
The PCS leader said: “We know that Suella Braverman broke the ministerial code, yet now she issues emails accusing her own workforce of blocking her Rwanda policy. And now we have Dominic Raab with not one complaint, but numerous complaints [against him].”
Mr Serwotka added: “The point I would make is if one of my members had an allegation like this against them, they would be suspended.
“He should step aside, or he should be suspended while the allegations are investigated, and it’s time the government realised that the way they are being seen to treat their workforce causes a collapse in morale and causes people to really question whether they can play a role in public service.”
Mr Raab has denied bullying and insisted he had “behaved professionally throughout” – but said that he would resign if an allegation of bullying was upheld.
Earlier this week Mr Raab suggested the rules surrounding the inquiry into whether he bullied officials may have been breached by witnesses speaking to the media.
“Anyone involved in the inquiry who is commenting to the media anonymously or otherwise is breaching the rules, and as a matter of basic professional integrity, I’m not going to do that,” he said.
Pressed on his relationship with civil servants on Friday, Mr Raab added: “Of course you want to have a positive relationship. With the vast majority of people, that I do, that is the case.”
Mr Raab has pledged to resign if he is found to have bullied staff, as the investigation draws to a close after the cabinet minister himself was interviewed.
Rishi Sunak ordered the investigation in November after coming under pressure following numerous claims, including that he was so demeaning to junior colleagues that many were “scared” to enter his office.
Boris Johnson and the Foreign Office’s former permanent secretary Simon McDonald are those understood to have given evidence to the investigating lawyer’s team.
FDA general secretary Dave Penman said some staff who worked with the senior cabinet minister had suffered “mental health crises” and been forced to quit and downgrade jobs as a result of his behaviour.
The union boss also denied claims by Mr Raab’s allies that the complaints against him are a politically-motivated “conspiracy” to force him out as deputy prime minister.
Some witnesses to the inquiry have offered positive assessments of Mr Raab’s behaviour as well as the negative evidence about his conduct, it is understood.