Dominic Raab is going down swinging after giving a series of TV interviews hitting out at his critics.
On Friday, Raab resigned as deputy prime minister and justice secretary after an inquiry found he acted in an intimidating and aggressive way with officials in behaviour that could have amounted to bullying.
Adam Tolley KC’s investigation concluded Raab engaged in an “abuse or misuse of power” that “undermines or humiliates” while foreign secretary.
Raab’s conduct in the department had a “significant adverse effect” on one colleague and he was also found to have been “intimidating” to staff by criticising “utterly useless” work while justice secretary.
But he later signnlled to journalists he was the victim of “activist civil servants” who oppose reforms. such as Brexit, and the “tyranny of subjective hurt feelings”.
In a letter he had criticised the “Kafkaesque saga” and saying he had been warned that “unionised officials” were targeting him.
During a tour of TV studios, he went further. Raab told GB News: “I think there’s a certain tyranny of subjective hurt feelings here, which if you actually apply that across the board means that senior ministers are at risk as they try and drive forward the change that the British public expect, try and protect taxpayers money, try and deliver for the British people, can actually hold things back.
“I think if you look at that across the board and particularly if you compare it to other walks of life – stressful jobs, high-powered businesses, but other walks of life more generally – I think people would be pretty surprised.
“The risk of course, is that it leads government ministers, politicians to look and feel to the public, even more detached from reality.”
He later told BBC News: “What you’ve got is the risk here that a very small minority of very activist civil servants, with a passive-aggressive culture of the civil service, who don’t like some of the reforms – whether it’s Brexit, whether it’s parole reform, whether it’s human rights reform – effectively trying to block government.
“That’s not on, that’s not democratic.”
Rishi Sunak, who had spent the night agonising over whether to sack his key ally, accepted Raab’s resignation on Friday morning with “great sadness”.
Tolley’s five-month investigation into eight formal complaints about Raab’s conduct as Brexit secretary and foreign secretary, and in his previous tenure leading the Ministry of Justice, was handed to Downing Street on Thursday morning.
Downing Street suggested that Sunak accepts his ally broke the ministerial code with what amounted to findings of bullying.
Raab said in his resignation letter to the prime minister that he was “genuinely sorry for any unintended stress or offence that any officials felt”.
But he criticised a “number of improprieties” during the inquiry, including “systematic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims” as he called for an independent review.
Sunak filled the gap in his Cabinet by promoting two longstanding allies, with Alex Chalk becoming justice secretary and Oliver Dowden appointed as deputy prime minister.