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Dominic Raab: 3 times Tory ministers have been accused of bullying in the past 4 years

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 18: Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Raab arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting in London, United Kingdom on April 18, 2023. (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Dominic Raab pictured in Downing Street earlier this week, before his resignation. (Getty Images)

Dominic Raab today resigned as a cabinet minister after a bullying inquiry found he acted in an intimidating and aggressive way towards officials.

Senior lawyer Adam Tolley's months-long investigation also concluded Raab engaged in an “abuse or misuse of power” that “undermines or humiliates” while he was foreign secretary.

Raab’s conduct in the Foreign Office had a “significant adverse effect” on one colleague, while he was also found to have been “intimidating” to staff by criticising “utterly useless” work when he was justice secretary under Rishi Sunak.

Raab said he was “sorry for any unintended stress or offence that any officials felt” but also claimed the inquiry had set a “low” threshold for bullying, and that such a move would create a “dangerous precedent” for judging ministerial behaviour.

Watch: Dominic Raab in profile

As Sunak ponders Raab's replacement, Yahoo News UK lists three other Conservative ministers who have been accused of bullying since the 2019 general election.

Priti Patel

Then-home secretary Patel was accused of bullying in March 2020.

Following the resignation of the Home Office’s permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam, who accused her of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign”, allegations emerged that Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments.

Conservative MP Priti Patel speaks at a fringe event on the third day of the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, central England, on October 4, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Priti Patel was able to stay on as home secretary. (Getty Images)

An inquiry into her conduct later that year found her behaviour, which was said to include some occasions of shouting and swearing, met the definition of bullying adopted by the Civil Service.

Patel kept her job, however, with Boris Johnson judging the Ministerial Code, which “sets out the standards of conduct expected of ministers and how they discharge their duties”, was not breached.

Patel said she was “sorry that my behaviour in the past has upset people”.

Gavin Williamson

In November last year, Sir Gavin Williamson was forced to resign as minister of state, just two weeks after Rishi Sunak appointed him, over bullying allegations.

He was accused of sending expletive-laden messages to former chief whip Wendy Morton, complaining about being refused an invitation to the Queen’s funeral.

Sir Gavin Williamson pictured in 2020. (PA)
Sir Gavin Williamson pictured in 2020. (PA)

Read more: Raab sent to the backbenches after colourful ministerial career

There were also claims he bullied a former official at the Ministry of Defence and an accusation of “unethical and immoral” behaviour while he was chief whip.

Amid the storm, Williamson said he decided to “step back from government” while the complaints process into his conduct was carried out, vowing to “clear my name of any wrongdoing”.

Alok Sharma

Earlier this week, it was reported Sir Alok Sharma bullied civil servants as a cabinet minister.

Sharma has denied the allegations, saying he had never been made aware of any complaints against him.

Bloomberg, citing four senior officials, reported he was alleged to have been difficult to work with, insulted staff’s work and used expletives.

HAY-ON-WYE, WALES - JUNE 4: Alok Sharma MP, a British politician serving as President for COP26 and a Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, at the Hay Festival on June 4, 2022 in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)
Alok Sharma pictured last year. (Getty Images)

He was also said to have bullied junior civil servants by calling them out of the blue to disparage their work during the pandemic, with the allegations spanning his time as business secretary and his COP26 climate change presidency between 2020 and 2022.

It was reported concerns about Sharma's behaviour were raised with Civil Service bosses at least four times in 2020, though they were not official complaints.