For the Prime Minister who has staked his reputation on integrity, professionalism and accountability today must be a deeply troubling day. He promoted his friend and colleague to the second highest position in government despite knowing he was subject to multiple allegations of bullying. If this was a business Raab would most likely been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation but it seems that different standards apply to the current government. Nevertheless, the reputation of this Prime Minister must be in tatters. Meanwhile, I am pleased to consider that all the civil servants who made complaints against Raab from a number of government departments can now breathe a sigh of relief that they will no longer be forced to work for a bully. Could this be the end of Dominic Raab’s political career?
I must admit that I have been badly bullied in a previous job. My boss had economic power over me and my colleagues and we were all treated exceptionally badly. In the end I had to seek medical advice as I started suffering chest pains and my blood pressure was at elevated levels. I was signed off as suffering from stress. Having a boss who shouted at me made me ill. I was so relieved to leave that company and my health fully recovered a short while after leaving.
I have enormous empathy and sympathy for those civil servants who reported Raab for bullying. Press reports indicated that many had suffered severe medical symptoms and, in many cases, far worse than what I endured.
Adam Tolley KC’s investigation into Dominic Raab found he acted in an “intimidating” fashion with “unreasonably and persistently aggressive conduct” in a work meeting while he was foreign secretary.
The civil service union, the FDA, called for an independent inquiry into ministerial bullying following the findings of the report.
General secretary Dave Penman said:
“This resignation is not a vindication of the current system, it’s a damning indictment of the inadequacy of a process that relies solely on the prime minister of the day to enforce standards.”
Mike Clancy, of the union Prospect, also said there had been:
“a toxic culture at the top of government for too long with civil servants and public trust paying the price for this chaos”, and he called on Mr Sunak to now “clean out the rest of the stables”.
“These issues go to the heart of the anger and distrust many people feel towards the way our country runs. It is time for ministers to step up and to start restoring trust both for civil servants and the good of the country.”
Is there a pattern?
While today’s resignation comes as a huge embarrassment to the government, we must remember that he is only one of many who have fallen on their sword. These include the disgraced former Chancellor Nadim Zahawi and of course the former education secretary, Gavin Williams is currently under investigation for bullying. And of course, what can we say of the behaviour of Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, and others.
Response from Dominic Raab
In his letter to the Prime Minister Raab says he accepted the report by Mark Tully KC had found evidence of bullying but he said that the two adverse findings against him were flawed and set a dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government.
He then said: “ Whilst I feel dutybound to accept the outcome of the inquiry, it dismissed all but two of the claims levelled against me.”
Today is a good day to be a civil servant, a bully of staff has been called out but it should act as a warning to everyone to treat everyone with respect be they colleagues or friends.