British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suffered a major blow to his premiership on Friday as a close aide resigned amid allegations he bullied officials.
In a resignation letter posted on Twitter on Friday, Dominic Raab has decided to resign as deputy prime minister and justice secretary after an official inquiry found some of the claims against him were justified.
The review into Rapp, conducted by independent investigator Adam Tolley, followed eight formal complaints about his conduct while acting as Foreign Secretary, Brexit Secretary and Justice Secretary.
“I called for an investigation and promised to resign if any bullying was found. I believe it is important to keep my word,” he said.
He said the investigation into the allegations “rejected all but two of the claims made against me” and that “in four and a half years, I never once swore or shouted at anyone, threw anything or physically threatened anyone”. , or not intentionally trying to belittle anyone.
He said he believed the report set a “dangerous precedent in setting the threshold for bullying too low” and that its findings were “flawed”.
Since joining the government in 2015 as a junior minister, Rob has held a number of senior positions. In addition to serving as Deputy Prime Minister, he was the Secretary of Justice and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Government Chancellor.
He was Foreign Secretary under Boris Johnson, but was sacked after receiving harsh criticism following the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. He was in Greece on vacation as the Taliban took over Afghanistan.
Shortly before the fall of Kabul, he faced calls for his resignation after it emerged that he had asked an aide to handle an emergency call with the Afghan foreign minister regarding the expulsion of interpreters who had served with the British armed forces. The call never happened.
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, criticized Raab for allowing Sunak to resign instead of sacking him. Speaking to the BBC on Friday, Starmer said the decision showed “weakness from top to bottom” of the government. “There is a double weakness here. He should never have appointed him and then he didn’t fire him,” he added.
Robin’s resignation is a blow to Sunak, who, despite coming from the right of the Conservative Party, has been portrayed as softer than his predecessors Liz Truss and Johnson.
Johnson’s comparison is particularly apt, as Sunak served as Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Covid pandemic, when he resigned as scandals engulfed the then prime minister. Johnson’s allies believe Sunak’s resignation ultimately led to the end of his premiership and did not forgive him.
Robb, who reminded Mr Sunak in his resignation letter of his loyalty since his failed leadership bid last summer, is seen as a staunch Brexiteer and a cornerstone of the party’s right. He gained the attention of the Eurosceptic movement in 2014 when he led a revolt of 81 MPs against then Prime Minister and staunch Europhile David Cameron.
Rob strengthened Sunak’s right-wing credentials, helping to push the policies necessary to bring that part of the party with him. While Rob has pledged his loyalty to Sunak, former ministers can create trouble in the back row if they want to.
The question now is whether Rob wants to do this or not. He is truly loyal to Sunak and understands that Sunak is actually a right-wing political ally of the party. However, his resignation letter indicated that Raab was not too happy about having to leave the government.
Days to come will tell us how far Rob was pushed or jumped. If it’s the former, he may have reason to make life difficult for Sunak as he battles Johnson allies on the party’s right.
Rob is the second Chung partner to resign over bullying claims in less than six months. Cabinet Office Minister Gavin Williamson resigned from his post in November.