ITV News deputy political editor Anushka Asthana interviews Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab has claimed that civil servants did not once raise concerns about his behaviour during seven years in ministerial roles, as he hit out at anonymous briefings to the media and insisted he always behaved professionally.
Asked by ITV news if he therefore thought that civil servants who had since accused him of bullying were being too sensitive, he said he did not want to criticise but said the public wanted ministers to “set high standards” within their departments in order to “drive forward change”.
The deputy prime minister - who is now facing an investigation after two formal complaints were lodged last month - said: “No on has ever raised a complaint or grievance with me [before that] and I have been a minister since 2015. Eight roles in four departments.
“The first any complaint was made- I was told - was on the 16 November.”
Pressed on whether there were any informal conversations, he insisted that the issue was not raised in “in any shape of form”.
His comments came despite the former permanent secretary in the foreign office - Simon McDonald said that Mr Raab’s language and tone made some scared to go into his office, claiming “I tried to have that conversation with him”.
But a source close to Mr Raab said Mr McDonald had never spoken to him directly about behaviour, though said they had frank discussions about the needs and pressures of the government agenda.
Asked if the number of people who have now complained about his behaviour both formally and to the media - had made him reflect on the way he had spoken to people, he said: “I am confident I behaved professionally throughout and the right thing to do was to call for an independent investigation, I did that. Then to deal with these things in a transparent way rather than frankly through anonymous briefings via the media.”
The interview took place while Mr Raab was launching a new initiative to help victims of rape and sexual assault.
When he was asked about the gap between his aides describing his behaviour as demanding and some civil servants making claims of bullying, the justice secretary said vulnerable groups, in particular, wanted ministers to drive forward progress.
“We can’t do it without our civil servants, they are brilliant. I had excellent relationship right across the departments. But they do want us to set high standards and they do want us to drive forward change and that is what I’ve been committed to.”
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