Dominic Raab bullying inquiry to begin after investigator revealed

An investigation into alleged bullying by deputy prime minister Dominic Raab is to get under way imminently after the appointment of a senior employment lawyer to head the inquiry.

Downing Street said that barrister Adam Tolley KC will be able to interview potential witnesses and have access to documents relating to the case including emails and WhatsApp messages.

And he will be able to discuss extending the scope of the inquiry with prime minister Rishi Sunak if fresh allegations emerge.

Mr Sunak’s official spokesperson said that Mr Tolley’s findings will be published in full. It will be for the lawyer to decide whether to make recommendations of sanctions if he finds against Mr Raab, but the PM will have the final say on any punishment, which could include dismissal from the government.

The justice secretary has vowed to “thoroughly rebut and refute” two official complaints he is already facing, one dating back to his previous stint at the Ministry of Justice and the other from his time as foreign secretary,

But further allegations of bullying behaviour have emerged in the press, and reports suggest that other civil servants may be considering coming forward with complaints about his actions.

Mr Raab asked Mr Sunak to order an inquiry after the formal complaints were submitted on 16 November, but the launch has been delayed a week while an investigator was recruited.

Normally, a probe of this kind would be carried out by Downing Street’s independent adviser on ministerial ethics. But the post has been empty since Lord Geidt quit in June at protest at Boris Johnson’s apparent readiness to breach the law.

Mr Sunak has promised to appoint an independent adviser, but no candidate has yet been named.

No timetable has been set for Mr Tolley’s inquiry, but it is thought likely that he will report by Christmas. Downing Street said that his report will be released “in a timely way” but would not commit to immediate publication.

The KC will provide a narrative of event surrounding the alleged bullying and may provide “advice” to Mr Sunak on how he should respond in relation to potential breaches of the ministerial code of conduct or employment law, said No 10.

But as final arbiter of the code, it will be for Mr Sunak himself to decide whether his deputy should be sacked or face any lesser punishment, like being required to issue an apology.

Mr Sunak’s spokesperson said that Mr Tolley will be given “access to all the information he wishes to see” as he conducts his inquiry.

Source: UK Politics -


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