Prime Minister too weak to suspend Raab over ‘bullying’ claims, says Keir Starmer

Questions from the Prime Minister

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab (left) and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faced a barbecue by Labor leader Keir Starmer (Image: House of Commons/PA)

Rishi Sunak is “too weak” to sack Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab over bullying allegations, Sir Keir Starmer has claimed.

The opposition leader used the prime minister’s questions to grill Mr Sunak in a fiery debate over his party’s “addiction to filth and scandal”.

The Labor leader said Mr Raab was now facing 24 bullying claims, adding: “Some complainants were reportedly physically ill. One was left suicidal.

“How would he (Mr. Sunak) feel if one of his friends or relatives was forced to work for a bully just because the man at the top was too weak to do anything about it?”

The Prime Minister, who was sitting next to Mr Raab, who denies the claims, said an inquiry has been looking into complaints since they surfaced in November. “When formal complaints were brought to my attention, I commissioned an independent KC to conduct an investigation because I take action when such things happen,” he replied. But No 10 was unable last night to deny reports the Prime Minister was aware of complaints against Mr Raab when he appointed him in October.

Questions from the Prime Minister

The claim was made during yesterday’s PMQs (Image: House of Commons/PA)

The inquiry is looking into eight claims made in 2018. Ex-employees have compared working for Mr Raab to a “controlling, abusive relationship”. And Dave Penman of the FDA public sector union told the BBC: “If that were any other employee, he would be suspended while the investigation took place.”

The investigation into Mr Raab will last for weeks, but there is support for him among backbench MPs. Jacob Rees-Mogg warned against “getting a little snowflake” and Sir Bernard Jenkin said some people were “easily bullied”.

Sir Keir also accused the Prime Minister of ignoring claims against ex-Tory leader Nadhim Zahawi, who was sacked on Sunday six months after claims surfaced over his tax affairs.

“Is he saying that his officers withheld this information from him, or was he just too disinterested to ask any questions?” he asked.

“At the time of his (Mr. Zahawi’s) appointment, no issues were raised with me,” the prime minister replied.

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Justin Scacco

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