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Raab hits out at ‘Kafkaesque saga’ after falling foul of bullying inquiry

21 Apr 2023 3 minute read
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab . Photo Stefan Rousseau PA Images

Dominic Raab has criticised the bullying inquiry that led to his resignation as a “Kafkaesque” as he suggested civil servants had tried to force him out of office.

The Karate black belt went down fighting on Friday, disputing the official investigation into his conduct even before Downing Street had published Adam Tolley KC’s findings.

Mr Raab claimed that the nation will “pay the price” if the threshold for bullying in government has been lowered after quitting as deputy prime minister.

He went into Thursday night ready to battle on in office, insisting he was not a bully, as Rishi Sunak agonised over whether to sack his key ally.

But Mr Raab stayed true to his vow to quit if the report found he bullied officials, as it said he acted in an “intimidating” fashion with “unreasonably and persistently aggressive conduct”.

Mr Raab said in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister that he was “genuinely sorry for any unintended stress or offence that any officials felt”.

But he criticised a “number of improprieties” during the inquiry, including “systematic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims” as he called for an independent review.


Mr Raab alleged that the inquiry has “set a dangerous precedent” by setting a “low” threshold for bullying.

“It will encourage spurious complaints against Ministers, and have a chilling effect on those driving change on behalf of your government — and ultimately the British people,” he said.

The Tory MP saved even stronger language for an article published on the Telegraph website, as he sought to get ahead of the Tolley report’s publication.

He wrote that the “Kafkaesque saga I endured was shorn of the safeguards most people enjoy”, arguing the normal rules of fairness were not followed.

Mr Raab said the only warnings he got about his behaviour before the inquiry was launched were “informal tip-offs” that “unionised officials were targeting me and other ministers”.

“The claim I threw tomatoes was not even put to me and, separately, led to a Whitehall press officer being investigated for spreading misinformation,” Mr Raab said.

He also said the inquiry was told that when he returned for his second stint as justice secretary a senior civil servant ordered the removal of private secretaries who had worked for him before.

“He said they were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Private secretaries who objected were given no choice – he said they had Stockholm syndrome,” Mr Raab wrote.

“These outrageous assertions were not based on any professional assessment. Far from a climate of fear gripping my private office, committed officials were forced out, and complaints encouraged.”

He also used the article to dispute some of the allegations before they had been made public in Mr Tolley’s report.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said he was “not aware” if Mr Raab was made aware of the timings for publication.

Sir Keir Starmer accused Mr Raab of “whining” about having to resign while the public endure the hardships caused by sky-high inflation.

“I don’t know why Dominic Raab, in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, thinks that anybody wants to hear about his whining about having to resign,” the Labour leader said.

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11 months ago

The normal rules of fairness where not followed for Dominic Raab? What rules of fairness are there under this UK Tory Government? The fairness of being sanctioned on Universal Credit when you turn up late or cant turn up for an appointment because you are in hospital? The20% food inflation, where the cost falls hardest on the poor? The fairness of fuel prices when MPs claim for their fuel bills on expenses? The fairness of public sector workers pay being cut for over a decade whilst MPs salaries have risen by minimum 25%? #Furious

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago

What is Kafkaesque was Raab remaining in government after the retreat from Afghanistan plus the possibility that the whole Tory government is due to God having had a really bad day at the drawing board…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I expect Kafka would have something to say about the world’s richest squeezing the last dollar out of the world’s poorest to the point of death by starvation and the family of England’s PM profiteering from Russia’s war on Ukraine…

11 months ago

Not accepting that your guilty of bullying shows how arrogant and untouchable this idiot is, and then threatening that the British people will have to pay surely qualifies as a further act of bullying so perhaps we can assume he actually doesn’t know what bullying is, and then his boss not sacking him as soon as he had the report from an independent ( not this governments version of independent ) enquiry shows how corrupt this power hungry load of trash are

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
11 months ago

If they paid me quadruple his salary, it would not be enough for me to accept being spoken to in a disrespectful way by somebody who has forgotten that he is a public SERVANT and who is now not even worthy of that title. Anyone who screams in peoples’ faces, tells them they are useless and throws objects around a workplace is entirely unemployable and should not be allowed to work anywhere.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
11 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

Of course, not taking responsibility for one’s actions is part of the qualification for being a Market Fundamentalist Tory. He should have been sacked long ago and dumped as an MP.

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