Dominic Raab To Face Investigation Into Two Formal Misconduct Complaints
Dominc Raab has asked Rishi Sunak to launch an independent investigation
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has agreed to a request by Dominic Raab to launch an investigation into two formal complaints that have been made against the Justice Secretary, following accusations relating to his behaviour.
Raab, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, asked Sunak to “commission an independent investigation as soon as possible” after being notified that formal complaints have been made in relation to his time as foreign secretary and his first tenure in the Ministry of Justice.
There have been a series of reports relating to the senior Cabinet Minister’s conduct, including claims that he was "rude and aggressive" towards staff.
In the letter that Raab shared on Twitter this morning, he said: "I will cooperate fully and respect whatever outcome you decide.
"I remain committed to serving this government with integrity and professionalism as Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary, and Lord Chancellor, and welcome the opportunity to address any complaints transparently."
Raab was made aware of the complaints by the Cabinet Office on Wednesday morning and responding, Sunak said it is "right that these matters are investigated fully".
In a letter responding to the request, the Prime Minister said: "I know that you will be keen to address the complaints made against you and agree that proceeding in this way is the right course of action."
"Integrity, professionalism and accountability are core values of this government. It is right that these matters are investigated fully."
The Prime Minister's official spokesperson confirmed Sunak will appoint an "independent investigator” to examine the complaints made against Raab.
A new Independent Adviser on Ministerial interests has not been appointed since Lord Geidt resigned in the summer over an ethics disagreement with the former prime minister Boris Johnson. Sunak will instead select a person from “outside of government” with the requisite experience to “establish the facts” in this case.
Downing Street would not commit to publishing their full report, only the findings, and confirmed that Sunak will not be obliged to accept the outcome as he remains the "ultimate arbiter" of the ministerial code.
Sunak's spokesperson said an independent investigator would be selected rather than a civil servant working for the Cabinet Office in “recognition these [incidents] relate to complaints around civil servants” and therefore it is appropriate to have someone from outside of the department to establish the facts.
The spokesperson added that Sunak still has “full confidence” in Raab, and he does not regret bringing him into his Cabinet last month.
Raab was asked about the complaints when he took Prime Minister's Questions this afternoon in Sunak's absence.
"I received notification this morning. I immediately asked the Prime Minister to set up an independent inquiry into them," he told the Commons.
"I'm confident I behaved professionally throughout, but of course I will engage thoroughly and look forward to transparently addressing any claims that have been made."
Recently appointed Prime Minister Sunak has previously defended Raab. On Monday Sunak told reporters that he was not aware of details of the allegations against him or any formal complaints.
“I don’t recognise that characterisation of Dominic and I’m not aware of any formal complaints about him,” Sunak said.
Following the reports, a former secretary of state said Raab’s position was increasingly precarious now that senior members of the civil service are making accusations about his treatment of officials.
“He’s fucked,” the former cabinet minister told PoliticsHome.
It is currently unclear which of the allegations made in recent days the two formal complaints Raab has referenced relate to.
Yesterday, Civil Service World reported that Raab had been accused of creating a “culture of fear” during his initial stint at the top of the Ministry of Justice with suggestions that he was “known as a bully” in the department.
A spokesperson for Raab said he had always had a zero-tolerance attitude to bullying and did not recognise the characterisation of his behaviour sources had given CSW.
Meanwhile, opposition MPs have raised concerns about the current lack of a government ethics adviser.
Lib Dem MP Daisy Cooper tweeted: "They must appoint a new independent ethics advisor now and give that person these allegations as their first task."
No 10 said recruitment for a permanent ministerial ethics watchdog is underway, and work is going “at pace” to appoint someone.
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