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U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak weighed the fate of his top deputy Thursday as he reviewed a long-awaited report into allegations that he bullied civil servants.
The report by an independent employment lawyer investigated eight formal complaints that Justice Secretary Dominic Raab had been abusive toward staff during a previous stint in that office and while serving as foreign secretary and Brexit secretary.
Raab, who is also deputy prime minister, has denied claims he was overly demanding and belittled and demeaned his staff. He said he “behaved professionally at all times,” but would resign if the bullying complaints were upheld.
Sunak’s spokesperson, Max Blain, said the prime minister received the report on Raab’s behavior Thursday morning and was considering the findings before reaching a judgment that could include firing him.
WHO IS DOMINIC RAAB?
Until reaching that decision, he said, Sunak still has “full confidence” in Raab.
Raab, 49, was first elected to Parliament in 2010 and has served in senior government posts including justice secretary and foreign secretary. Appointed deputy prime minister under Boris Johnson, he briefly took charge of the government when Johnson was hospitalized with COVID-19 in April 2020.
The U.K. Justice Minister Dominic Raab leaves 10 Downing Street in London, on March 23, 2022. A spokesperson says Rishi Sunak is reviewing a report about whether his top deputy bullied civil servants. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
The report is the latest ethics headache for Sunak, who vowed to restore order and integrity to government after three years of instability under predecessors Johnson — brought down in summer 2022 after multiple scandals — and Liz Truss, who quit in October after six weeks in office when her tax-cutting economic plans sparked mayhem on the financial markets.
RAAB: WE’LL LEAVE WITHOUT A DEAL IF NO BREAKTHROUGH ON BREXIT
But he has struggled to shake off opposition allegations that the Conservative government remains mired in scandal and sleaze.
Sunak also faces an investigation announced this week by a parliamentary watchdog over whether he properly disclosed his wife’s interest in a company that stands to benefit from a massive boost to free child care in his administration’s budget.
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A member of his Cabinet, Gavin Williamson, quit in November over bullying claims. In January, Sunak fired Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi for failing to come clean about a multimillion-dollar tax dispute.
A separate inquiry is underway into claims Johnson secured a loan with the help of a Conservative donor, Richard Sharp, who was later appointed chairman of the BBC.