Likely PM was made aware of informal concerns about Raab before reappointment, FDA boss suggests

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab Credit: PA

The leader of a group representing senior civil servants has suggested that Rishi Sunak would have been warned there had been informal complaints about Dominic Raab's behaviour before he reappointed him as justice secretary.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, said prime ministers were routinely informed about concerns relating to ministers' track records - and pointed out civil servants had raised concerns about Mr Raab's behaviour in previous roles.

He told ITV News that when the prime minister was repeatedly asked about whether he knew about complaints before the appointment - he would only say time and again there had been no "formal complaints".

It comes after a source told me weeks ago that a senior official in the Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXEU) had written down their concerns about Mr Raab's behaviour towards his private office and sent them to the Cabinet office.

The Cabinet office insisted there had been no "formal complaints" but would not be drawn on whether an "expression of concern" had been lodged.

I also received leaked results of a people's survey when Mr Raab was foreign secretary. Of the 20 people who responded in his private office, 40% said they'd been bullied or harassed in the past 12 months, while 75% said they'd witnessed bullying or unfair treatment.

PM Rishi Sunak Credit: PA

There was no way to know who the claims related to but the numbers were far higher for Mr Raab's private office than the wider foreign office.

There have been two formal complaints about Mr Raab triggering an inquiry that will be led by the lawyer Adam Tolely KC.

But the BBC claimed that several previous private secretaries are considering a joint complaint.

And, separately, it's my understanding that at least one other may have been put in.

One striking thing about Mr Raab's conduct is that it appears to have annoyed civil servants in several departments - the foreign office, DEXEU and the ministry of justice - where some were in tears about Mr Raab's reappointment.

I'm told they found Brandon Lewis, who was justice secretary in between, great to work with, in contrast.

I've spoken to several civil servants including very senior ones who described Mr Raab's demanding behaviour, including very specific requests around formatting for example.

Where these are not met I've been told about "demeaning and patronising" behaviour.

I've been surprised by how many have got in touch.

There have been some who worked very closely with Mr Raab who argued that while his behaviour was demanding it was never bullying.

A spokesman said he expects a lot from himself and his team but always worked with the "utmost professionalism".

Mr Raab has insisted he will clear his name.

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