Union chief ‘can’t imagine’ ordeal of alleged Raab bullying victims

A civil service union chief has said “you cannot underestimate how difficult it has been” for officials who have raised bullying complaints against Justice Secretary Dominic Raab.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, which represents senior Whitehall officials, suggested whistleblowers working at the Ministry of Justice are going through a continuing ordeal.

“I can’t imagine what it’s like to be one of those complainants working in a department where Dominic Raab is still the Secretary of State,” he told GB News.

Mr Raab, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, is being investigated by senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC over bullying allegations – with dozens of officials thought to be involved in eight formal complaints.

Allies of Mr Raab have suggested civil servants are trying to push him out.

Mr Penman hit back at claims that he is the victim of a smear campaign, saying it is “really difficult” to accuse one of “the most powerful people in the country” of bullying.

“You cannot underestimate how difficult it has been for these individuals to challenge that.

“Can you imagine working in that department and having had the courage to raise a complaint against the Deputy Prime Minister of the country, and still have to walk in the front door when he’s the minister?”

The union leader added: “It’s never easy to challenge that sort of behaviour and they’ve done that because of the absolutely devastating effect it had on them.”

Speaking in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday evening, Mr Penman also argued Mr Raab would have been suspended while being investigated “if this was any other workplace”.

“If any employer was faced with this level of accusations, the breadth of it, the scale of it, they would have taken their decision to suspend someone while they conduct an investigation.”

Rishi Sunak has resisted calls for Mr Raab to be suspended or to step aside, instead waiting for the inquiry to conclude.

The Prime Minister has faced questions over what he knew about the allegations before appointing Mr Raab as his deputy and Justice Secretary, with Downing Street only ruling out Mr Sunak being aware of “formal complaints”.

Mr Raab has denied bullying and has said he “behaved professionally at all times”.