Dominic Raab's poor working relationships 'caused delays' during Afghanistan evacuation

British Deputy Prime Minister reportedly refused to speak to some foreign office staff

Dominic Raab, UK Deputy Prime Minister, has asked for an investigation into his behaviour in office. Bloomberg
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Dominic Raab’s refusal to speak to some foreign office staff cause a “blockage” during the evacuation of western forces from Afghanistan last year, according to reports.

The Deputy Prime Minister is said to have had a poor working relationship with certain senior officials who he viewed as “time wasters,” and only allowed only a small number of senior staff to engage with him and his private office.

That reportedly caused some decisions in the final stages of the UK withdrawal to be “delayed and backed up”.

Mr Raab is facing claims he behaved aggressively towards staff during his time as justice secretary.

Senior civil servants were offered a “route out” of Mr Raab’s department when he was reinstated to the role in October amid concerns they had been distressed by his past behaviour, reports suggest.

Several sources have claimed that the Cabinet minister created a “culture of fear” in the Ministry of Justice during his previous time there, The Guardian reported.

According to a new report by the paper, quick decisions were needed but “we couldn't get him to listen to this message, let alone act on it”.

A source described the “blockage” as “very costly”.

He reportedly denies the latest claims.

Mr Raab told the Commons on Wednesday that he was “confident” he has behaved “professionally”, and Downing Street said that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has full confidence in his deputy.

Mr Raab has been facing a series of allegations he bullied officials and deployed rude and demeaning behaviour in previous Cabinet roles.

In a letter to Mr Raab on Wednesday, Mr Sunak told the Cabinet minister that “integrity, professionalism and accountability are core values of this government” and said that an investigation was the “right course of action”.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Raab said: “I have just been notified that two separate complaints have formally been made against me, in parallel, from my time as foreign secretary and my first tenure as justice secretary, which ended in September of this year.

“I am, therefore, writing to request that you commission an independent investigation into the claims as soon as possible.

“I will co-operate fully and respect whatever outcome you decide.”

Mr Raab, Conservative MP for Esher and Walton, told Mr Sunak he had “never tolerated bullying, and always sought to reinforce and empower the teams of civil servants working in my respective departments”.

Mr Raab's later spell at the Ministry of Justice followed his demotion from foreign secretary in September last year, after widespread criticism of his handling of the Afghanistan crisis.

He was on holiday in Crete in August as the Taliban swept across the country and was seen relaxing on a beach on the Greek island as members of the militant group entered Kabul, although he insisted he was in touch with officials and ministerial colleagues.

Updated: November 19, 2022, 2:18 PM
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