Raab requests formal investigation into himself over 'bullying' complaints

ITV News Political Correspondent Harry Horton reports as Dominic Raab is scrutinised while standing in for Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister's Questions.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has said he has written to the prime minister requesting an independent investigation into two complaints that have been levelled against him.

In a tweet, he said: “I look forward to addressing these complaints, and continuing to serve as Deputy Prime Minister, Justice Secretary, and Lord Chancellor.”

He added he welcomed “the opportunity to address any complaints transparently”.

It comes after days of questions and allegations concerning his conduct towards colleagues.

Eight people working in Dominic Raab's private office when he was foreign secretary claimed to have been bullied or harassed at work, according to a people's survey from late 2019.

The results, which have been leaked to ITV News, also show 15 people reported seeing someone else being bullied or treated unfairly.

Rishi Sunak has since agreed to the request, saying that "integrity, professionalism and accountability are core values of this government".

Mr Sunak had backed Mr Raab, before the two complaints were revealed, telling reporters in Bali: “I don’t recognise that characterisation of Dominic and I’m not aware of any formal complaints about him.

“Of course there are established procedures for civil servants if they want to bring to light any issues.”

Rishi Sunak still has full confidence in Mr Raab, Downing Street said on Wednesday afternoon.

In his letter to the prime minister, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab wrote: “When you entered No 10 Downing Street, on 25th October, you rightly stated that ‘this government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level’.

“I am proud to take this as a personal article of faith.”

“I have just been notified that two separate complaints have formally been made against me, in parallel, from my time as foreign secretary and my first tenure as justice secretary, which ended in September of this year.

“I am, therefore, writing to request that you commission an independent investigation into the claims as soon as possible. I will co-operate fully and respect whatever outcome you decide.”

It is the latest blow to the new prime minister’s administration, after he faced criticism for appointing Sir Gavin Williamson to his senior team despite being told he was under investigation for allegedly bullying a colleague, claims that caused Sir Gavin to quit.

Deputising for Rishi Sunak at PMQs, Dominic Raab was accused by deputy Labour Leader Angela Rayner of "days of dodging and denial" over bullying allegations.

Mr Raab said he remains “committed” to “serving this government with integrity and professionalism”.

He added he welcomed “the opportunity to address any complaints transparently”.

The justice secretary was also challenged by someone on Labour's backbenches - as to whether he threw a tomato at somebody as is alleged.

Mr Raab said: "That never happened."

The pair also debated the current economic crisis facing the UK, with Ms Rayner stating that "if there was a World Cup for growth we wouldn't even qualify."

Dominic Raab suggested that global factors such as the war in Ukraine and the lingering economic effects surround Covid are to blame for growth, before going on to say inflation is the "number one" enemy facing the UK economy.

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