Photo: Neil Hall/EPA
Rishi Sunak has been asked to “come clean” about whether he knew about informal concerns about Dominic Raab’s behavior before his appointment, as an investigation into the deputy prime minister continues.
Eleven weeks after the inquiry began looking into complaints from around two dozen civil servants across three government departments, pressure is mounting on the prime minister to suspend Raab and reveal what he knew and when
Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, which represents many civil servants, criticized Sunak for being “point blank” in refusing to say whether informal concerns had been raised about Raab’s behavior – and if so “what he did about it”.
After your No. 10 Sunak refused to be informed of any formal complaints, Penman said the prime minister should “come clean”.
Given the scale of the allegations against Raab, which he denies, Penman said it would be normal in a workplace to suspend such a person until the outcome of the investigation was known.
“That suggests there is a real issue and a serious risk to the health and safety of the current staff,” he told Sky News. “Until you can establish their innocence, you have to protect your existing workforce.”
He said it was ultimately important for Sunak to clarify what he knew and when, as he would have to decide what fate Raab would face if the independent investigation led by Adam stood. Tolley KC with the bullying complaints.
Lisa Nandy, the shadow public secretary, also criticized Sunak for not revealing what he knew before appointing Raab. “This is a prime minister who does not act until he is forced, he is dragged into doing it kicking and screaming. He is far too weak to control his own party and once again the country is paying the price for this ongoing psychosis.”
Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, suggested that Tolley should look at the warnings that may have been given informally about Raab’s past behaviour.
“The question marks are now not just about Dominic Raab but about the prime minister,” he said. “Did he appoint Dominic Raab knowing there were these serious allegations?”
Press secretary No. 10 on Wednesday whether Sunak was aware of any informal concerns about Raab’s behavior when he appointed him justice secretary in October 2022. They continued with the same statement, repeating: “The Prime Minister was not on the information about any formal question. complaints at the time Dominic Raab was appointed.”
The Observer previously revealed that in 2018 one of the departments Raab worked in sent a “significant expression of concern” to the Cabinet Office, while other newspapers reported that issues with his behavior had been discussed internally – including with Downing Street.
Raab says he has always acted professionally, and on Wednesday said “no” when asked if he would withdraw from the allegations.
The investigation is said to be focusing on whether Raab deliberately targeted staff members or whether he did not anticipate the impact his behavior was having on them.
Raab’s allies pushed back and tried to defend him, with briefings that two officers have so far testified in his defense.
One minister also told The Times: “Dom has the support of civil servants because he really checks the work. He only takes what they tell him.
“You can’t get anything from him. That is a threat. Main features [they] can be manipulated and pushed around.
“He is handling some of the most controversial legislation and this is the best way to remove a secretary of state who is going to double down on the details.”