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Dominic Raab claims he was targeted by activist civil servants criticized as 'absurd' – UK politics live | Politics

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Good morning. While Dominic Raab resigned as both Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary yesterday following a long-awaited report on his behaviour, he did so ungratefully.

In his resignation letter to Rishi Sunak, Raab said the report’s findings had set a “dangerous precedent” by setting such a low threshold for bullying that it could have a “chilling” effect on ministers trying to make change. .

The MP said he felt “duty bound” to resign, pledging to do so if the report was found to be against him. He claimed that all but two of the eight complaints against him had been “dismissed”, but Adam Tolley KC found evidence of poor behavior in six of them.

Later, in an interview with the BBCHe accused “active civil servants” of trying to block his work, either because they were “overly unionized” or because they did not agree with his policies.

However, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, has described those claims as “absurd” – adding that the resignation letter was “very complacent” and “malevolent in some respects”.

He told Radio 4’s PM programme:

I think this is completely wrong, and I think this is just another attack to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.

He seems to yell at everyone but not accept personal responsibility for any of his behavior, and I think the issue he’s trying to deflect here – the constitutional question of good government – simply doesn’t stand up. It happens.

You can read my colleague Pippa Crerar’s report on an extraordinary day here:

And we’ll bring you all the latest UK political happenings as they happen right here throughout the day.

key events

Simon McDonald have denied Dominic Raab claimed that the civil service at the Foreign Office were “workers” and said that those who worked under the former minister “worked very hard for him”.

Lord McDonald was Permanent Secretary under Raab when he was Foreign Secretary and worked closely with the former Deputy Prime Minister.

McDonald told the BBC’s Today program that he disagreed with his former boss and said there was no “distinct civil service agenda” and he saw no evidence of “a group of activists trying to undermine a minister”.

When asked about a characterization of Raab’s behavior while at the Foreign Office, he said:

I saw a difficult taskmaster, I saw a minister who knew what he wanted to do, and clearly I saw someone whose methods didn’t help him achieve what he wanted and Which I raised with him more than once.

When MacDonald raised these issues with Raab he said that the MP’s characterization of Asher and Walton was “disputable”.

Updated at 03.38 EDT

Pippa Crerar

Raab’s resignation probably represents the end of his frontline political career, with allies acknowledging he is expected to lose his marginal Surrey seat to the Liberal Democrats in next year’s general election. Raab told the BBC that he wanted to “let the dust settle for a bit” before making a decision about his future.

The departure of such a close political ally is a major blow for Sunak, who faced questions over his decision after civil servants in his previous portfolios flagged “issues” with Raab before the prime minister brought him back into government. are doing.

Sunak glossed over the essence of the complaints, while Downing Street only condemned the bullying of civil servants “in general terms” and refused to explicitly acknowledge that Raab had broken the ministerial code.

And here’s the PM’s response:

Dear Dominic,

Thank you for your letter informing me of your decision to resign from your position as Deputy Prime Minister and Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice in Her Majesty’s Government. It is with great sadness that I have accepted your resignation.

When I became Prime Minister in October last year, I pledged that the Government I would lead would be one of integrity, professionalism and accountability at all levels. The Ministerial Code requires ministers to maintain the highest standards.

When formal complaints were submitted about your conduct in various ministerial positions last year, I appointed an independent investigator at your request to conduct a thorough investigation of the specific facts surrounding these complaints. Adam Tolley Casey has now submitted his report and I have carefully considered its findings, as well as consulting with the Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests.

As you say, you – rightly – pledged to resign if the report revealed any signs of bullying. You have made your point. But it is clear that the historical process has had flaws, which have negatively affected everyone involved. We should learn from this how to handle such cases better in future.

But your resignation should not let us forget your record of performance both in this government and in the previous administration. You should be extremely proud of these achievements.

Most recently as Minister of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, you have put victims’ rights at the center of our criminal justice system through our historic Victims and Prisoners Bill, as well as increasing sentencing for violent offenders, the probation system reforming and embarking on the largest prison-building program this country has seen in more than a century.

As Foreign Secretary, you were a key driving force of the 2021 Integrated Review, conceptualizing and delivering the Indo-Pacific tilt. I know you also displayed personal drive in creating the UK’s new independent sanctions regime and in our response to the undermining of human rights and democracy in Hong Kong.

You stepped in during the Covid crisis when the then Prime Minister was hospitalized. You provided reassurance and leadership to the country – and your cabinet colleagues – at a time of profound national concern. As the Chancellor at that time, I was impressed by the way you handled this most difficult challenge.

I will always be grateful for your steadfast personal support during last year’s Conservative Party leadership contest, from the day you introduced me to the final day of the contest. The dedication, commitment and integrity with which you have discharged your duties as Deputy Prime Minister is a reflection of your belief in public service.

I look forward to receiving your support from the backbench as you continue to passionately represent your constituents of Escher & Walton. Thank you for your service in this and previous governments and I wish you and your family every success in your future.

Regards,

Rishi Sunak

In case you missed it yesterday, here’s Raab’s resignation letter in full:

Dear Prime Minister,

Following receipt of the report arising from the investigation carried out by Adam Tolley KC, I am writing to resign from your Government. I demanded an inquiry and promised to resign if any findings of intimidation were found. I believe it is important to speak up.

It has been a privilege for me to serve you as Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a Minister in many roles and departments since 2015, and pay tribute to the many outstanding civil servants I have worked with.

While I feel bound to accept the result of the investigation, it dismissed all but two of the claims made against me. I also believe that its two perverse conclusions are flawed and set a dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government. First, ministers should be able to exercise direct supervision in relation to senior officials over important negotiations conducted on behalf of the British people, otherwise the democratic and constitutional principle of ministerial accountability would be lost. This was particularly true during my time as Foreign Secretary in the context of the Brexit negotiations on Gibraltar, when a senior diplomat breached a cabinet-approved mandate.

Second, Ministers should be able to provide direct critical feedback on briefings and submissions to senior officials, to ensure the standards are set and the public expects of us. Of course, this should be done within reasonable limits. Mr Tolley concluded that not once, in four and a half years, had I swore or shouted at anyone, let alone thrown anything or otherwise physically threatened anyone, nor purposely tried to humiliate anyone. I am truly sorry for any unintended stress or guilt any officer may feel as a result of the speed, standards and challenge I have brought to the Ministry of Justice. However, the public expects the same from the ministers working on their behalf.

By pushing the limits of intimidation so low, this investigation has set a dangerous precedent. It will encourage spurious complaints against ministers, and will have a chilling effect on those seeking change on behalf of your government – ​​and ultimately the British people.

In conclusion, I have brought to your notice several irregularities which have come to the fore during this enquiry. These include the systematic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims to the media in violation of the Rules of Inquiry and the Civil Service Code of Conduct, and the forced removal by a senior official of dedicated private secretaries from my Ministry of Justice’s private office. October last year. I hope they will be reviewed independently.

I support you and this government just as much as I first introduced you at your campaign leadership launch last July. You have proved a great Prime Minister in very challenging times, and you can count on my support from the backbenches.

Regards,

Dominic Raab

Let’s see the reaction on the first pages.

we start with Guardian Joe says “Raab leaves angrily”. It reports that the investigation by Adam Tolley Casey has cited “abuse of power”, but Raab himself is a victim of “activist civil servants” who are trying to block the work of the Conservative government .

daily Telegraph “Dispute over Spanish forces in Gibraltar sinks Raab”. It added that the report found that Raab “intimidated a British ambassador, said to have secretly proposed to put Spanish boots on the ground” in Gibraltar during Brexit talks.

daily Express is sympathetic, regarding Raab as “compelled to want the best for Britain”, adding that according to colleagues he had a case of “unwavering determination”.

Read more here:

Good morning. While Dominic Raab resigned as both Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary yesterday following a long-awaited report on his behaviour, he did so ungratefully.

In his resignation letter to Rishi Sunak, Raab said the report’s findings had set a “dangerous precedent” by setting such a low threshold for bullying that it could have a “chilling” effect on ministers trying to make change. .

The MP said he felt “duty bound” to resign, pledging to do so if the report was found to be against him. He claimed that all but two of the eight complaints against him had been “dismissed”, but Adam Tolley KC found evidence of poor behavior in six of them.

Later, in an interview with the BBCHe accused “active civil servants” of trying to block his work, either because they were “overly unionized” or because they did not agree with his policies.

However, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, has described those claims as “absurd” – adding that the resignation letter was “very complacent” and “malevolent in some respects”.

He told Radio 4’s PM programme:

I think this is completely wrong, and I think this is just another attack to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.

It sounds like he yells at everyone but doesn’t accept personal responsibility for any of his behavior, and I think the issue he’s trying to divert here – some sort of constitutional question of good government – Just can’t stand it.

You can read my colleague Pippa Crerar’s report on an extraordinary day here:

And we’ll bring you all the latest UK political happenings as they happen right here throughout the day.