“I can tell you categorically, throughout all my time covering for the PM when he was sick [with Covid], not only did I not see any partying or any inappropriate behaviour or anything that broke any rules that applied at the time.
“Frankly, I was very struck by the dedication, the commitment of those civil servants at the folcum at the response to the pandemic,” he said.
Ed Balls, the former Labour politician who presented Tuesday’s programme alongside regular Susanna Reid, remarked: “That rather begs a question, because I totally accept what you just said. When you were in charge, there weren’t parties and a culture of drinking.
“We now know from the Sue Gray report, which I’m sure you’re not resigning from, that there was a culture of drinking and 12 parties being reported to the police. What changed?
“The only thing that’s changed is that rather than you being in charge, Boris Johnson was in charge. Is that why, when you were there, there weren’t parties, and when the prime minister was there, there were parties?”
Mr Raab replied by describing Mr Balls’ question as “guileful”, before adding: “The inquiry covered the period in question when the prime minister was well and at the realm. Of course, I don’t know what I don’t know.
“Since the prime minister being back at the realm, I also didn’t see any of the partying that is being referred to.”
Yes, he most definitely meant ‘at the healm’ rather than ‘at the realm’, even though Mr Johnson’s dishevelled appearance often makes him look like a mythical creature.
Can\u2019t believe I am saying this BUT kudos to @edballs for the last question he put to @DominicRaab about his leadership (when he was covering for the PM) vs @BorisJohnson. Even Raab couldn\u2019t turn it around despite trying so hard as it was true.