'People will pay the price': Dominic Raab slams 'Kafkaesque saga' after quitting amid bullying probe

ITV News' Anushka Asthana and Libby Wiener report on Dominic Raab's resignation

Words by Lucy McDaid, ITV News Westminster Producer

Dominic Raab has said people "will pay the price" after he resigned from government following the publication of a bullying report he claimed sets a low threshold for complaints.

Writing in The Telegraph, the former deputy prime minister and justice secretary criticised what he called the "Kafkaesque saga" after he begrudgingly stood down from his roles.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak, who received the report from senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC on Thursday, said he accepts his former deputy's resignation with "great sadness".

In a statement on Friday, Mr Raab said he feels "duty bound" to accept the inquiry's outcome, but added: "In setting the threshold for bullying so low, this inquiry has set a dangerous precedent."

ITV films Dominic Raab in his constituency after he resigns as deputy prime minister and justice secretary

Mr Tolley's report detailed instances where Mr Raab's behaviour had a "significant adverse" impact on the health of some complainants, and outlined examples of Mr Raab being "intimidating" and "persistently aggressive".

ITV News has previously reported on bullying allegations made against the now former deputy prime minister, with one former official claiming he was "100%" a bully.

In his first interview since resigning from government, Mr Raab told the BBC: "I'm sure I've made mistakes over four and a half years, but the question was whether any of this amounted to bullying".

He added: "I strongly believe if the threshold for bullying is so low that picking people up on bad work, straightening out a negotiation where a breach of a cabinet-set mandate has been taken place, changing teams so we get the very best at negotiations...if we can't do those things, ultimately it will be the public that pay the price."

However, a former civil servant and diplomat, Moazzam Malik, told ITV News that "Dominic Raab is not the first and won't be the last", after recalling a number of ministers who have behaved "badly" over the years and have been "getting away with it".

'Dominic Raab is not the first and won't be the last', says former civil servant and diplomat

Mr Tolley led the independent investigation into Mr Raab, who always insisted he would resign if found guilty.

But in a piece for the Telegraph, Mr Raab wrote: "This precedent sets the playbook for a small number of officials to target ministers, who negotiate robustly on behalf of the country, pursue bold reforms and persevere in holding civil servants to account."

Speaking to ITV News, the head of the union that represents civil servants described it as "an extraordinary state of affairs" that Mr Raab was allowed to resign before potentially being fired by the prime minister.

"He has created a vacuum and allowed Dominic Raab to fill it," said Dave Penman, who added that "it might have been the deal for him going, where Dominic Raab gets to complain about the process, undermine the complaints" and "gets to resign on his own terms".

The investigation is described as 'an wholly inadequate process' by the head of the union for civil servants, Dave Penman

Mr Raab requested the probe into his behaviour in November last year after two official complaints were made against him. Mr Tolley's independent inquiry addressed eight formal allegations, with at least 24 government officials understood to have been involved in the complaints. They cover Mr Raab's time in the Ministry of Justice, Foreign Office, and his time as Brexit secretary.

Throughout the five-month investigation, Mr Raab always maintained he had excellent relationships with civil servants across government and insisted he always acted with professionalism and integrity.

In his resignation letter to Mr Sunak on Friday, the MP for Esher and Walton said he is "genuinely sorry for any unintended stress or offence that any officials felt, as a result of the pace, standards and challenge that I brought to the Ministry of Justice."

He added: "That is, however, what the public expect of ministers working on their behalf."

Dominic Raab's resignation letter to the prime minister in full

Speaking to ITV News, a former Foreign Office official who worked in the department under Mr Raab's leadership described his resignation letter as "vile".

Another person who worked under Mr Raab said: "Ultimately, he does not believe his behaviour was wrong. I think the narrative that a fast pace, high standard and challenging environment is a defence for leadership which isn't considerate, kind or compassionate, is wrong."

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the resignation shows the "continual weakness of the prime minister".

Speaking to broadcasters, Mr Starmer added: "He should never have appointed him, along with other members of the Cabinet that shouldn't have been appointed, and then he didn't sack him. Even today, it was Raab who resigns rather than the prime minister who acts".

Dominic Raab's resignation shows the 'continual weakness' of the prime minister, claims Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Elsewhere, the Liberal Democrats have demanded a by-election in Mr Raab's constituency, with Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper saying: "Dominic Raab has shown he is not only unfit to serve as a minister, but is totally unfit to represent his constituents in Parliament.

"He should resign as an MP and trigger a by-election so the people of Esher and Walton can finally have the MP they deserve."

The full report by Mr Tolley KC was later published by Downing Street, and Mr Sunak now needs to carry out a cabinet re-shuffle in order to find Mr Raab's replacement.

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