Rishi Sunak Defends Dominic Raab Despite Resignation Over Bullying Claims

The prime minister said he had "respect" for the former deputy prime minister's record of "stable leadership".
House of Commons via PA Wire/PA Images

Rishi Sunak has defended Dominic Raab’s time in the cabinet, despite the former deputy prime minister resigning amid multiple allegations of bullying.

Raab quit the cabinet last month after an investigation found he had behaved in an “intimidating” manner towards officials and engaged in “unreasonably and persistently aggressive conduct”.

But speaking to BBC Radio 2 on Wednesday, the prime minister refused to say whether he thought his close ally was a bully and said he had “respect” for the job he did.

“Whilst he was in government, Dominic Raab achieved things that made a difference to this country,” Sunak said.

“I think people will remember when the previous prime minister Boris Johnson was very ill with Covid, it was Dominic Raab who stepped into his shoes.

“It was an incredibly uncertain time and and Dominic Raab provided stable leadership at that time and acted in a very collegiate way

Asked about the decision to praise him as he quit, the prime minister said it was “because I can absolutely respect his record”.

Despite resigning as justice secretary and deputy prime minister, Raab reacted angrily to the findings of the investigation by senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC.

He criticised the report as “flawed” for “setting the threshold for bullying so low”.

In his lengthy report, Tolley said Raab had “acted in a way which was intimidating, in the sense of unreasonably and persistently aggressive in the context of a workplace meeting”.

“His conduct also involved an abuse or misuse of power in a way that undermines or humiliates,” Tolley said.

“In particular, he went beyond what was reasonably necessary in order to give effect to his decision and introduced a punitive element.”

Raab was replaced as deputy prime minister by Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden.


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