Dominic Raab speaks after resigning from the cabinet
Dominic Raab has made it clear that he will not quit government quietly giving a damning interview about a small group of “anti-Brexit activist civil servants” who he has accused of bringing him down. Speaking on the BBC, Mr Raab, who was a leading Brexiteer in the Cabinet, said that he got on with thousands of officials and blamed a small group of senior bureaucrats with an agenda to force him out.
Mr Raab said: “I resigned from Cabinet today because I said I would if there was any adverse findings from this inquiry. I’m true to my word, politicians should be but I do think it sets a very dangerous precedent.”
He added: “If the bar, the threshold for bullying is low and that low, it’s almost impossible for ministers to deliver for the British people. And I think it will have a chilling effect on effective government and the British people pay the price.
“I think if ministers can’t ask direct questions – without shouting, swearing or losing your temper – if we can’t probe if we can’t scrutinise how do we deliver for the British people?”
Mr Raab said “almost all” of the complaints against him were dismissed.
“And what this doesn’t give you, it’s a handful of very senior officials, none of the junior complaints are upheld, And I got on and dealt with hundreds of civil servants, 1000s of other people in prison service and the court service and what you’ve got the risk here a very small minority of very activist, civil servants, with a passive aggressive culture of the civil service, who don’t like some of the reforms, whether it’s Brexit, whether it’s parole reform, whether it’s human rights reform, effectively trying to block government. That’s not on that’s not democratic.”
Mr Raab also suggested some senior civil servants are thin-skinned.
Mr Raab has been replaced as Justice Secretary by Alex Chalk and Deputy Prime Minister by Oliver Dowden, both close friends of Mr Sunak and both Remainer supporters in the 2016 EU referendum.
It means that 15 of the 23 members of the cabinet were Remainers in 2016 and only seven were Brexiteers. The 24th, Kemi Badenoch, was only elected as an MP afterward in 2017.
But civil servants have already being acting with fury to Mr Raab’s comments in his resignation letter.
Jess Bowie, co-editor of Civil Service World, the trade news platform for Whitehall and civil servants around the UK, has published on Twitter a series of furious comments sent to her.
One said: “Gaslighting in his last gasps”.
Another added: “The world’s most bullying resignation letter”.
A third said: “I’m hugely relieved that the multiple voices have been heard, and that this wasn’t another whitewash.”
Another suggested: “I’m appalled by his suggestion that ‘only two’ incidents being upheld wasn’t a big deal.”
Yet another said: “At the heart of this is the quality of government and how the country is served. I completely disagree. The chilling effect came from the culture of fear he created.”
And one mocked: “Perhaps Dominic Raab might take Tolley’s report as some constructive 360 feedback, as he so clearly feels that the ability to take feedback is important.”
But Mr Raab has had surprising support from a Labour MP Graham Stringer, who, like him, backed Brexit.
Mr Stronger told GB News: “I find effectively civil servants sacking a minister, which is what has happened, quietly disturbing because one of the great myths in our political life is that we have a non political civil service.”
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