First Priti Patel was accused of it, then Gavin Williamson. Now Dominic Raab has been accused of bullying civil servants during his spell as Justice Secretary, between September 2021 and September this year.
Raab was sacked as justice secretary and deputy prime minister by former PM Liz Truss – in possibly the only sensible move she made in that role.
But he was reappointed by Rishi Sunak following his election as leader by Tory MPs in what may be yet another entry in an ever-lengthening list of howlers by the new prime minister.
The Guardian has reported that staff in the Justice Department were offered “respite or a route out” amid concerns that some were traumatised by his behaviour during his previous stint:
The Guardian has spoken to multiple sources in the MoJ who claimed that Raab, who first held the post between September 2021 and September 2022, when he was sacked by Liz Truss, had created a “culture of fear” in the department.
They alleged that his behaviour when dealing with civil servants, including some in senior roles, was “demeaning rather than demanding”, that he was “very rude and aggressive” and that he “wasn’t just unprofessional, he was a bully”.
It is also understood that Antonia Romeo, the MoJ permanent secretary, had to speak to Raab when he returned to the department to warn him that he must treat staff professionally and with respect amid unhappiness about his return. One source, who was not in the room at the time, claimed she had “read him the riot act”.
The allegations raise further questions over Rishi Sunak’s judgement, which is already in question after he re-appointed Suella Braverman as Home Secretary despite concerns that she is more leaky than the migrant boats she is trying to stop crossing the Channel.
He also made Gavin Williamson a Minister Without Portfolio, only for him to resign within weeks amid an ever-growing litany of bullying claims.
Needless to say, there has been a bit of commentary about this – and about bullying in Parliament in general. Here’s Novara Media:
The revelations by Labour’s Charlotte Nichols are damning – she discussed a huge list of 40 MPs who are “known dangers”, from whom she had been told not to accept drinks and with whom she had been told not to allow herself to be alone.
Ash Sarkar discussed Labour’s Neil Coyle, who bullied a journalist with Chinese heritage (as mention by This Site after he asked a question during Prime Minister’s Questions). She suggested that he was treated as a credible source because he was an opponent of Jeremy Corbyn, with a blind eye shown to his (alleged) wrongdoing.
So it seems that bullying and intimidation are epidemic in Westminster.
But that is no reason for a UK prime minister to employ people who are known malcontents.
It seems that is exactly what he has done, not just with Gavin Williamson but also – we’re hearing – with Dominic Raab. And it is not good enough.
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