Thursday, July 18, 2024

UK Deputy Prime Minister resigns after bullying inquiry


AleONDON—UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigned Friday after an independent investigation found he had bullied civil servants, although he described the report as “flawed.”

Raab’s announcement came a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak received findings in eight formal complaints that Raab, who is also Justice Secretary, during a previous term in that office and served as UK Foreign Secretary and Brexit Secretary. At times were disrespectful to staff members.

Raab, 49, denied claims that he belittled and disrespected his staff and said he “behaved professionally at all times,” but said he was resigning because he refused to uphold the bullying complaints. had promised.

Raab said in his resignation letter that the investigation found two findings of intimidation against him and dismissed the others. He called the findings “flawed” and said the investigation “set a dangerous precedent” by “setting the threshold so low for bullying”.

Raab said he resigned because he was “obliged” to resign as he had promised.

The resignation spared Sunak the difficult task of deciding the fate of his top deputy.

If he fired Raab, he would be opening himself up to criticism for hiring him in the first place; If he hired her, he would be criticized for failing to deliver on his promise to restore probity to the Conservative government.

Sunak received the probe report on Thursday morning and did not take any immediate decision. Spokesman Max Blaine, speaking before Raab’s resignation, said that Sunak still had “full confidence” in Raab when he reviewed the report.

The ministerial code of conduct requires ministers to treat people with respect and to have fair and just relations with colleagues, civil servants and employees. It states that harassment, discrimination and bullying will not be tolerated.

Raab was elected to Parliament in 2010 and tried unsuccessfully to become leader of the Conservative Party in 2019 before throwing his support behind Boris Johnson. Appointed Deputy Prime Minister under Johnson, he briefly took charge of the government when Johnson was hospitalized with COVID-19 in April 2020.

Read more: Boris Johnson shatters UK political norms. Ultimately, she was his undoing

Raab said in his letter that he “did not intentionally offend anyone” and was “genuinely sorry for any unintentional stress or offense felt by any officer.”

He noted in the investigation that he “didn’t swear or yell at anyone, let alone throw anything or otherwise physically intimidate anyone.”

The bullying probe is the latest ethics headache for Sunak, who vowed to restore order and integrity to the government after three years of instability under predecessors Johnson and Liz Truss. Multiple scandals brought Johnson down in the summer of 2022, and Truss quit in October after six weeks in office when his tax-cut economic plans caused havoc in financial markets.

But Sunak has struggled to shake off opposition charges that the Conservative government is mired in scandal and obscenity.

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