UK's Dominic Raab rejects resignation calls as bullying probe begins

Deputy Prime Minister, standing in for the PM, insisted he has acted professionally throughout career

Dominic Raab was under fire from the first question. PA
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Britain's Deputy Prime Minster Dominic Raab stood in for Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister's Questions and found himself answering questions on integrity, bullying and if he should resign.

Details emerged on Wednesday of an investigation into allegations that Mr Raab bullied government staff.

He was asked if the “integrity, professionalism and accountability” of government meant anyone found to have bullied staff needed to resign.

He did not answer yes or no but did insist he had acted professionally throughout his career in government.

There have been two formal complaints against Mr Raab, that he bullied officials and behaved in a rude and demeaning way in previous Cabinet roles.

The Deputy Prime Minster confirmed the two complaints on Wednesday. He said he has asked Mr Sunak to open an independent investigation into the allegations.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner attacked the government on its financial record ahead of an budget on Thursday. She also questioned if he would resign if the bullying investigation found he was guilty.

Ms Rayner told the Commons: “After days of dodging and denial, this morning the Deputy Prime Minister finally acknowledged formal complaints about his misconduct, but his letter contains no hint of admission or apology.

“This is anti-bullying week. Will he apologise?”

Mr Raab replied: “She asks about the complaints, I received notification this morning, I immediately asked the Prime Minister to set up an independent inquiry into them.

“I'm confident I behaved professionally throughout but of course I will engage thoroughly and look forward to transparently addressing any claims that have been made.”

Mr Raab's appearance on Thursday came a day before Chancellor Jeremy Hunt presents the autumn statement — a budget in all but name — as inflation tops 10 per cent and the Bank of England warns of a recession.

Mr Raab said the country was “facing challenges that are faced all around the world because of Covid, because of the war in Ukraine”.

He added: “We've seen rising inflation in Germany, in the eurozone, in the US. But the reality is this prime minister and this chancellor have a plan” … that will be set out in Thursday's autumn statement.

Meanwhile, both MPs and parties extended support to Poland after it became embroiled in the fallout of the war in Ukraine.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday said there were no indications a missile that killed two in Poland was an “intentional attack”, describing it as most likely an unfortunate accident.

Mr Duda said it was probable that a Russian-made missile fired by Ukraine fell in Poland. The ultimate responsibility lay with Moscow, which launched a barrage of missile attacks on Ukraine on Tuesday, he added.

Updated: November 16, 2022, 1:21 PM