Dominic Raab: Five new complaints added to bullying investigation into deputy PM

Dominic Raab leaving No 10 Downing Street.
Dominic Raab is now being investigated over eight complaints about his conduct. Credit: PA

Dominic Raab is being investigated over five fresh formal complaints about his conduct after Rishi Sunak referred the new allegations to the senior lawyer carrying out a bullying inquiry.

The new claims, which take the total number in Adam Tolley KC’s investigation to eight, are believed to relate to the deputy prime minister’s first stint as justice secretary.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats suggested Mr Raab should be suspended, but the prime minister’s official spokesman said it is "right" that the inquiry is finished before decisions are made.

Mr Raab has insisted he "behaved professionally at all times", but the more than doubling of the number of formal complaints is a blow to his attempts to clear his name.

ITV News Political correspondent Carl Dinnen discusses whether the deputy prime minister should step down amid further allegations about his conduct

Downing Street said the latest allegations do not relate to Mr Raab’s current tenure at the top of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), with Mr Raab having been reappointed to the role by Mr Sunak in October.

"I can confirm that the prime minister has now asked the investigator to include five further formal complaints relating to conduct at the Ministry of Justice as part of the ongoing investigation and in line with the existing terms of reference," Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said.

He would not put a timescale on when the investigation into the MP for Esher and Walton in Surrey will be concluded, but said it is hoped to be finished "swiftly".

Asked how Mr Raab can remain in his Cabinet role considering the breadth of the allegations, the spokesman responded: "We think it’s right there is an independent process, that the investigator looks into these claims thoroughly before coming to a view."

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Mr Raab first served as justice secretary under Boris Johnson for a year until September. He was ousted by Liz Truss but Mr Sunak brought him back after he succeeded her as prime minister.

He also held jobs at the MoJ between 2015-2016 and 2017-2018, but the new allegations are understood to relate to his first tenure as justice secretary.

One complaint about his conduct in the role was already being investigated, as were two others lodged about his time as foreign secretary and Brexit secretary.

Labour's Deputy leader, Angela Rayner, said the the latest accusations raise more questions about Mr Sunak's decision to bring Mr Raab back into the Cabinet.

Mr Raab was offered a return to the Cabinet after Mr Sunak became prime minister. Credit: PA

She added: "The prime minister must now say why he has not been suspended until the outcome of the formal investigation, and make clear that any breach of the Ministerial Code will result in his immediate sacking."

Liberal Democrat Deputy leader Daisy Cooper suggested Mr Raab should be asked to step down from his role while the allegations are investigated and "confirm he won’t be reappointed if they are upheld".

Meanwhile, the general secretary of the FDA union, Dave Penman - which represents senior civil servants - also raised questions about how Mr Raab can continue in the role.

"Given the volume of complaints, if this was a civil servant - at any level - there’d be a legitimate question of whether they should be suspended pending the investigation," he said.