Staff were scared to go into Dominic Raab's office, says former head …
Dominic Raab is under Westminster's microscope once more over fresh allegations he is a bully.
Multiple reports have emerged that the deputy prime minister and justice secretary has committed a smorgasbord of sins including throwing tomatoes across the office and leaving staff "scared" to enter the office and while the minister has requested an investigation into his behaviour that hasn't stopped further stories coming to light.
It all started when it was reported the politician chucked tomatoes in a rage. “He began a tirade, opened his Pret salad and threw three tomatoes out into a bag across the table making a loud noise,” a Whitehall source reportedly told The Sun.
This started an avalanche of allegations.
A former diary secretary reportedly said. “I’m not his biggest fan.
“You have to be very straight with him. He finds it difficult dealing with women. He’s very dismissive.”
When he was rehired as Justice secretary under Rishi Sunak, Ministry of Justice staff were apparently told they did not have to work for him and were offered positions in other departments.
Antonia Romeo, the MoJ’s top civil servant, “read him the riot act” about his behaviour at the department, according to The Guardian.
Around 15 staff working in the Justice Secretary’s private office were given the option of moving roles.
One source told The Guardian that Raab created “a culture of fear” when running the department and was “very rude and aggressive” to workers, reducing some to tears.
“It wasn’t just that he was unprofessional, he was a bully. The atmosphere when he came back was terrible”, they added.
Another report claimed the justice secretary had acquired the nickname "The Incinerator" because he "burns through" staff.
And a survey of 20 people working in Raab's private office when he was foreign secretary in 2019 showed that 40 per cent reported personal experience of bullying and harassment - though not necessarily by Raab - and 75 per cent witnessed it, ITV reported on Sunday.
According to Bloomberg, Simon Case - the most senior civil servant - had been told of alleged "abrasive behaviour" by Raab in the past
Lord Simon McDonald, who was permanent secretary at the Foreign Office between 2015 and 2020, said Raab was a "tough boss" and the claims about him are believable.
“Colleagues did not complain to me formally, it was kind of their professional pride to cope, but many were scared to go into his office,” the crossbench peer told Times Radio.
“His sort of defence was that he treated everybody in the building in the same way. He was as abrasive and controlling with junior ministers and senior officials as he was with his private secretaries.”
“It was language, it was tone, he could be very curt with people and he did this in front of a lot of other people. I think people felt demeaned,” the former official said.
“And I tried to have that conversation with him, I had several conversations with him. But it wouldn’t surprise me today if he said ‘I don’t recognise that’, because I felt at the time that my message wasn’t landing.”
\u201cFull interview on #TimesRadio at 11am\n\nhttps://t.co/NCFpIi4uyE\u201d
Ministry of Justice sources claimed that “a handful” of formal complaints had now been made, beyond the initial one from a group of mid-ranking civil servants in the department, who said that Raab oversaw a “perverse culture of fear” that damaged civil servants’ mental and physical wellbeing, while other officials had asked for advice, the Guardian reported.
A number of Raab's former private secretaries are preparing to submit formal complaints, the BBC reported yesterday.
Dave Penman, chief executive of the FDA union which represents senior civil servants, told the broadcaster: "This is an extraordinary set of circumstances. We've never come across a situation where so many civil servants appear to be raising complaints about a minister's conduct.
"So if they are serious allegations about his conduct, that the prime minister has seen, he has to make a decision - is it safe essentially for civil servants to continue to work with him? That's what any employer would do."
How have people reacted to the claims?
People aren't thrilled at the idea of a justice secretary behaving in an unjust manner, as you can imagine.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, described the claims as “deeply troubling” and said they “must be investigated urgently and independently”.
“The Prime Minister must come clean on what he knew about these allegations when he reappointed Dominic Raab,” she said.
Lisa Nandy, shadow levelling up secretary, told Sky News: “I have to say that when I was shadow foreign secretary - opposite Dominic Raab as foreign secretary - I did hear a number of rumours that this was a pattern of behaviour within the department.
“I think it’s been something of an open secret within Westminster for the last few years that there is a problem.
“There was a problem in the justice department, there was a problem in the foreign office, and it was particularly apparently directed towards women.
“This is something that we hear coming out over and over again with this government that there are accusations of bullying from the civil servants.”
But prime minister Sunak has defended his minister. He told journalists: “I don’t recognise that characterisation of Dominic and I’m not aware of any formal complaints about him.
“Of course there are established procedures for civil servants if they want to bring to light any issues. I’m not aware of any formal complaint about Dominic.”
Meanwhile, Raab announced he had written to Sunak to request an investigation into the complaints that had been made against him.
\u201cI have written to the Prime Minister to request an independent investigation into two formal complaints that have been made against me. I look forward to addressing these complaints, and continuing to serve as Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary, and Lord Chancellor.\u201d
The government has appointed Adam Tolley KC to investigate two formal complaints made about Mr Raab's conduct.
Downing Street said a report would be published "in a timely way".
indy100 has contacted Raab to comment on this story.
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