Dominic Raab is facing multiple formal complaints from Justice Department (MoJ) officials over allegations of bullying during his previous stint as head of the department, the Guardian has been told.
The Justice Minister has vowed to “thoroughly refute and refute” the two official complaints he is already facing, one from the MoJ and one from his time as Secretary of State, but any further formal allegations will be a blow to his attempts to clear his name.
Downing Street has reportedly appointed an independent figure, expected to be announced on Wednesday, to lead the investigation into the deputy prime minister’s alleged conduct. They will not be limited in the scope of the claims they investigate.
A director of human resources within the MoJ has been appointed to collect all complaints from officials before they are handed over to the cabinet, where the investigator, believed to be from outside the government and not a serving official, will be stationed.
MoJ sources claimed that “a handful” of formal complaints had now been filed, in addition to the first of a group of middle-ranking officials at the department, who said Raab was overseeing a “perverse culture of fear” that harmed officials. mental and physical well-being, while other officials had asked for advice.
The new complaints are said to come from senior officials, with direct experience of alleged bullying and aggressive behavior by the Justice Minister when he previously worked in the department. “They feel like they need to be shoulder-to-shoulder with more junior staff,” a source said.
A Justice Department insider claimed the new allegations were “more serious and specific” than the general claims about Raab’s aggressive management style previously made. “He was demeaning and aggressive, even towards senior staff, and his day-to-day unpredictability left us all constantly on edge,” they added.
It comes after the Guardian reported allegations that during his first stint as Justice Minister, Raab behaved so badly during a meeting with the Home Office that his department’s top official had to apologize to counterparts in person afterwards.
Sources in Whitehall claimed that the Justice Minister had acted “so badly and inappropriately” at a high-level meeting earlier this year that Justice Department Permanent Secretary Antonia Romeo was forced to suspend senior officials of the then Home Secretary. , Priti Patel, calling to express regret .
Rishi Sunak, who agreed to launch the investigation into the complaints, has been questioned about his assessment of Raab’s reappointment to his cabinet following a series of allegations about his behavior towards officials from three different departments, including the MoJ, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Brexit Department.
Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “The stream of complaints about Dominic Raab’s behavior is becoming a tidal wave. A week after the first formal complaints were made, Rishi Sunak failed to appoint an independent investigator to investigate the many allegations about his deputy’s conduct.
The Prime Minister’s decision to put party leadership above the national interest and to re-appoint a man with Dominic Raab’s record raises questions about his own judgment and makes a mockery of his commitment to ensure integrity, professionalism and accountability in government. bring.”
A MoJ spokesman said: “There is no tolerance for bullying in the civil service. The deputy prime minister leads a professional department, which implements major reforms, where civil servants are valued and the level of ambition is high.
“An independent inquiry is under way and is being monitored by the Cabinet Office, and it would be inappropriate to comment further on issues related to it until it is completed.”