Dominic Raab told to 'walk before he's pushed' in heated bullying clash during PMQs

Angela Rayner tells Dominic Raab to "walk before he's pushed" over bullying allegations, in a fiery exchange during PMQs

Dominic Raab was told to "walk before he's pushed" in an attack by deputy labour leader Angela Rayner, who skewered him over complaints he had bullied civil servants.In a heated exchange during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Ms Rayner repeatedly took aim at the justice secretary.

Mr Raab, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, is under investigation over eight formal complaints about his behaviour as foreign secretary, Brexit secretary and during his first stint as justice secretary.

Ahead of Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Raab said he believes “heart and soul” that he is not a bully, but defended his “forthright” approach to his work.

Ms Rayner said: "He managed to rack up 24 formal complaints from his own civil servants... will he walk before he's pushed?"

Mr Raab quipped back: "One thing never changes. She always comes with a usual bluster of political opportunism."

The pair were deputising for their parties' leaders who were attending the funeral of former Speaker of the House Baroness Betty Boothroyd.

Angela Rayner lashes out at Dominic Raab as she deputises for Kier Starmer during Prime Minister's Questions.

Ms Rayner kicked off proceedings with a thinly veiled dig at Mr Raab, with reference to the government's anti-social behaviour action plan, announced earlier this week.

She said: "It's only taken 13 years. And look, I'll give him some credit.

"The deputy prime minister knows first-hand the misery caused by thugs and their intimidating behaviour, lurking with menace, exploding in fits of rage creating a culture of fear, and maybe even, I don't know, throwing things.

"Can I ask him, under this new anti-social behaviour, does he think more bullies will be brought to justice?"

Mr Raab responded: "I can reassure the house I have never called anyone scum."

He added: "But if (she) is serious about standing up for communities and people who suffer at the scourge of anti-social behaviour, she'd back our plan to deal more swiftly with these issues, to make sure that we ban drugs beyond the conventional ones, give police the powers they need.

"And if they really want to protect the public they'll back our plans for parole reform to make sure that murderers, that terrorists, that child killers are not allowed out free to threaten other people and re-introduce the ministerial veto that that side took away."

After the pair clashed over the Government's record on charging and prosecuting rape suspects, Ms Rayner said: "The reality is while people in Britain feel more and more unsafe, he seems to spend all of this time trying to save his own job and none of his time on his actual job."

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She added: "The way things are going, and if reports are to be believed, this might be your last PMQs - so let's look at the highlights.

"A criminal justice (system) on its knees, the largest court backlog on record, rape victims waiting for justice and through it all, he managed to rack up 24 formal complaints from his own civil servants.

"So can he say today will he walk before he's pushed?"

Mr Raab replied: "One thing never changes - she always comes with her usual bluster and political opportunism."

He went on to defend the Government's record, including on crime and public protection.

Mr Raab earlier insisted he is "focused on the job" and there is "no point in complaining" about the investigation he requested.

Senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC was appointed in November to lead the investigation into Mr Raab's conduct but the process is yet to conclude.

Mr Raab told Sky News: "Anyone accused of things that you feel very passionately and heart and soul are wrong, you will feel aggrieved, but I'm a professional - I'm very focused on the job I'm doing." 

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