Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has yet to announce his decision on the future of his deputy, Dominic Raab, after receiving the findings of an inquiry into bullying allegations against him several hours ago. No 10 has stated that the PM is still considering the report but wants to publish it “as swiftly as possible”.
Mr Raab, who is also the Justice Secretary, denies any bullying of staff and insists he has always “behaved professionally”. He is facing eight formal complaints about his behaviour as a minister, which prompted the Prime Minister to appoint senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC to investigate in November. Now, it is up to Mr Sunak to decide whether Mr Raab has broken ministerial rules and what action to take.
Those representing the complainants, many of whom still work in the Ministry of Justice with Mr Raab, are frustrated at the delay in a decision being made. The Liberal Democrats have accused Mr Sunak of “dither and delay”, with their Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain expressing her anger at the situation.
The BBC has been informed that Mr Raab has seen the full report but has not spoken to the Prime Minister. Government circles are discussing what will happen if the Justice Secretary leaves his position, with some senior figures expecting a damning report and feeling he might have no choice but to go. However, the ultimate decision lies with Mr Sunak and a final judgement has not yet been made.
When asked if the Prime Minister had full confidence in Mr Raab, his spokesman said he did but was “carefully considering the findings of the report before coming to a judgement”. The complaints against Mr Raab relate to his time as Justice Secretary and Foreign Secretary under Boris Johnson, and as Brexit Secretary under Theresa May. He was sacked as Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister when Liz Truss took over from Mr Johnson, but was reappointed to both roles when Mr Sunak became Prime Minister in October.
Questions have been raised about what Mr Sunak knew about the allegations before bringing Mr Raab back into government, but he has refused to comment on whether he had any informal warnings. The Prime Minister must now make a decision on whether to keep Mr Raab in his cabinet or not.