Dominic Raab is reportedly facing several new complaints from senior officials in several government departments over allegations of bullying behaviour.
The deputy prime minister’s former private secretaries, responsible for handling the day-to-day affairs of government ministers, are preparing to lodge formal complaints, according to BBC Newsnight.
The fresh complaints come the next day Rishi Sunak appointed a lawyer to investigate formal complaints against his deputy prime minister, who several officials have accused of bullying behavior across multiple government departments.
“There are a number of allegations that appear to be coming across a number of departments where Dominic Raab has worked, each of which needs to be cleared by the Prime Minister for investigation,” said Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union. .
When asked by Newsnight if the coordinated effort by officials could resemble a “witch hunt”, Penman said it showed a level of concern about the deputy prime minister’s behaviour.
“This is an extraordinary set of circumstances,” Penman said. “We have never come across a situation where so many civil servants seem to raise complaints about the conduct of a minister.”
The Guardian previously revealed several allegations of bullying across three government departments, including the MoJ, the Brexit department and the Foreign Office.
Raab has previously denied any wrongdoing and expressed support for the report. Labor has called on the Prime Minister to widen the scope of the inquiry to allow the independent investigation of formal and informal complaints.
Downing Street said the lawyer, Adam Tolley KC, who has been tasked with investigating the complaints, will be able to widen his inquiry to look into other complaints if the Prime Minister agrees.
The program also reported on the alleged use of personal email accounts for public companies in two government departments, including as recently as his time as justice secretary last year. Several officials raised “deep concerns” with Raab about the use of his personal email account, according to the program.
The alleged breach of ministerial rules comes after the current home secretary, Suella Braverman, was forced to stand down from the post under then prime minister Liz Truss, in part after sending an official document from her personal email to another MP .
After the interior minister was reappointed to the position by Sunak, Braverman admitted to using her personal email for official business six times and apologized for her “error of judgment”.
The new bullying allegations put renewed pressure on the prime minister, who Penman said must decide whether it is “safe” for officials to continue working with Raab amid serious allegations about his behaviour.
“That’s what any employer would do,” Penman said. “This is about the Prime Minister making a decision. He wants to keep the veto in check through ministerial legislation, with that comes the responsibility to protect civil servants.”