(CNN) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak He suffered a major blow to his premiership on Friday after one of his closest allies resigned over allegations he intimidated officials.
In a resignation letter posted to Twitter on Friday, Dominique rap He said he decided to resign as deputy prime minister and minister of justice after an official investigation found that some of the allegations made against him were justified.
Raab’s review, conducted by independent investigator Adam Tooley, followed eight formal complaints about his conduct while serving as foreign secretary, Brexit secretary and justice secretary.
“I have called for an investigation and have vowed to resign, if I ever make any discovery of bullying. I think it is important that I keep my word,” he said.
He added that the prosecution’s investigation “rejected all but two of the allegations against me” and “concluded that not once, in four and a half years, had I sworn or yelled at anyone, much less thrown anything or physically intimidated anyone., nor has he deliberately sought to belittle anyone.”
He also said he believes the report sets a “dangerous precedent in setting a very low threshold for bullying” and said its findings were “flawed”.
Raab has held several high-profile positions since joining the government as a Minister of State in 2015. Besides serving as Deputy Prime Minister, he was also Minister for Justice and Lord Chancellor in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government.
He was foreign secretary under Boris Johnson but was removed after receiving heavy criticism following the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. He was on holiday in Greece when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.
He faced demands for his resignation after it emerged that, shortly before the fall of Kabul, he had asked an MP to handle an urgent call to the Afghan foreign minister regarding the evacuation of interpreters who worked with the British armed forces. The call never happened.
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labor Party, criticized Sunak for letting Raab resign, rather than sacking him. Speaking to the BBC on Friday, Starmer said the decision showed “top-down weakness” of the government. “There is a double weakness here. He should not have hired him and then not fired him,” he added.
Resignation could harm Sunak
Raab’s resignation is a blow to Sunak who, although to the right of the Conservative party itself, has been portrayed as being much softer than his predecessors Liz Truss and Johnson.
The Johnson comparison is particularly pertinent as Sunak served as Chancellor of the Exchequer during the Covid pandemic, only to tender his resignation as the then prime minister was engulfed in scandals. Johnson’s allies believe that Sunak’s resignation ultimately led to the end of his premiership and has not forgiven him.
Raab, who reminded Sunak in his resignation letter that he had been loyal since Sunak’s failed leadership bid last summer, is seen as a staunch supporter of Brexit and a cornerstone of the party’s right. He came to the attention of the Eurosceptic movement in 2014 when he led an 81-MP rebellion against then-Prime Minister and Europhile David Cameron.
Raab boosted Snack’s right-wing credentials, and helped push forward policies that required bringing that section of the party with him. And while Raab has promised his loyalty to Sunak, the ex-ministers are able to create trouble on the back benches, if they so wish.
The question now is whether or not Raab wants to do it. He is sincerely loyal to Sunak and realizes that Sinak is really a political ally of the right in the party. However, his letter of resignation indicates that Raab was not very happy that he had to leave government.
The coming days will tell more about how far Rap has been pushed or jumped. If it’s the former, he may have a reason to make life difficult for Sunak later when he grappled with Johnson’s allies on the right of the party.
Raab is the second Senak ally to resign over allegations of bullying in less than six months. Government Office Minister Gavin Williamson resigned from his post in November over accusations he denied.
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