The world of politics is never far from controversy, and the latest news story to hit the headlines is no exception. Former cabinet minister and Conservative party chair Jake Berry has become the most senior Tory MP yet to call for Dominic Raab to step aside from his ministerial roles while he is investigated over multiple allegations of bullying and intimidating behaviour.
The allegations against Raab are serious, with 24 officials involved in the complaints. He has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. In addition, anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller has claimed Raab was abusive to her and a BBC staffer after they appeared together on Radio 4’s Today programme in 2016.
Berry’s comments place yet more pressure on Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, to act. Sunak has faced criticism for his failure to act earlier in dismissing Nadhim Zahawi, the most recent Conservative party chair, after it emerged he received a tax penalty from HMRC when he was chancellor. Downing Street has declined to comment on a report in the Times that Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, had been personally told of a written complaint about Raab during his earlier stint in the justice ministry months before Sunak gave him the post again.
The Prime Minister has ordered an inquiry by Adam Tolley KC into the allegations against Raab, which is seen as unlikely to be concluded for another couple of weeks at the earliest. In the meantime, Berry has said that it would be “very bizarre” if someone in a similar position to Raab in any other workplace remained in their role amid such claims. He has also said that it would be “a big help” to Sunak if he was able to straightforwardly suspend a minister who was being investigated, as happens in the private sector.
Only time will tell what the outcome of this investigation will be. In the meantime, the Prime Minister is under pressure to make a decision on Raab’s future. Will he remain in his ministerial roles, or will he be asked to step aside? We will have to wait and see.