Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Chris Mason: Raab and Sunak in Perilous Situation


Westminster is in a state of limbo as Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliberates over the future of his deputy, Dominic Raab. The judgement is binary: keep him or sack him. The prime minister has seen the report from Adam Tolley KC, as has Mr Raab. The latter has stated that he would resign if it was concluded he was a bully, but he has not done so. This implies that he does not think the evidence amounts to bullying.

The government had created an expectation that Rishi Sunak’s verdict would be quick, but it did not come. This has caused consequences; those who were complainants fear that Mr Raab might keep his job. Dave Penman of the civil servants’ union the FDA has suggested that resignations may be possible if this happens.

Sir Alex Allan, who conducted an inquiry into Home Secretary Priti Patel when Mr Johnson was prime minister, said that the prime minister may need time to consider the report, but that it cannot be completely clear cut.

Whichever decision Mr Sunak makes, he will face turbulence. If he sacks Mr Raab, there will be a big vacancy at the top of government and questions about why he appointed him in the first place. If he keeps him, there could be potential mutiny inside the Ministry of Justice and the prospect of alleged victims of Mr Raab’s behaviour resigning and speaking out publicly.

A friend of Mr Raab has said that he is moderately optimistic that the report may be less than clear cut. Very few people have seen Adam Tolley’s report and next to nothing has leaked from it, so judgement should be reserved until it is released. Mr Raab is facing a moment of jeopardy over his job and Rishi Sunak is facing a moment of jeopardy over his judgement.

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