UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigns

Dominic Raab, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs walks in Downing Street on September 3, 2019 in London, England.

Leon Neal | Getty Images News | GettyImages

LONDON — UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigned Friday, following an inquiry into bullying allegations.

In a letter addressed to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and published on his Twitter accountRaab states he “called for the inquiry and undertook to resign, if it made any finding of bullying whatsoever. I believe it is important to keep my word.”

Sunak launched an independent investigation into Raab’s behavior in November, after eight formal complaints were lodged by at least 24 staff members during Raab’s time as justice minister, foreign minister and Brexit minister.

Sunak said in a statement Friday that it was “with great sadness” that he had accepted Raab’s resignation, while noting “shortcomings in the historic process that have negatively affected everyone involved.”

“You had – rightly – undertaken to resign if the report made any findings of bullying whatsoever. You have kept your word,” he added. Oliver Dowden will become the new deputy prime minister with Alex Chalk the new justice secretary.

The findings of the report, which were delivered to Sunak on Thursday, were released shortly after Raab’s resignation.

Raab said the investigation carried out by senior lawyer Adam Tolley had dismissed all but two of the claims leveled at Raab, which he noted are “flawed and set a dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government.”

“Mr Tolley concluded that I had not once, in four and a half years, sworn or shouted at anyone, let alone throw anything or otherwise physically intimidated anyone, nor intentionally sought to belittle anyone,” Raab wrote in reference to some of the claims leveled against him.

“I am genuinely sorry for any unintended stress or offense that any officials felt, as a result of the pace, standards and challenge that I brought to the Ministry of Justice,” he added.

Third high-level departure

Raab’s resignation marks the third high-level minister to leave under Sunak’s watch amid allegations of misconduct.

Just weeks after he assumed the top job, close colleague and Minister Without Portfolio Sir Gavin Williamson quit in November amid allegations of bullying.

In January, Nadhim Zahawi was sacked as Conservative Party chairman after an inquiry found he had committed a “serious breach of the Ministerial Code.”

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Sunak had pledged his government would be rooted on ethical conduct.

“This government will have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level. Trust is earned. And I will earn yours,” he said in October during his first speech as prime minister.

Labor leader Keir Starmer responded to the Friday announcement, saying that Raab should have been sacked rather than allowed to resign, and adding that the move marked a sign of Sunak’s “continual weakness.”

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo