United Kingdom: a new minister accused of harassment, Rishi Sunak called to explain himself

British Justice Minister Dominic Raab has been accused of harassment of his staff, allegations that raise questions on Saturday about the choices of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, another minister who resigned for similar reasons this week.

While Rishi Sunak and his Conservative government took office less than three weeks ago, two ministers have already faced harassment charges.

The latest is Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab. ‘The Guardian’ newspaper reported on Friday evening that ministry officials had been offered an ‘exit door’ as some feared working again with Mr Raab, already Minister of Justice under Boris Johnson between September 2021 and September 2022.

According to the British daily, ministry staff described a “culture of fear” within a service run by a “rude” and “aggressive” man. “He wasn’t just unprofessional, he was a bully.”

The newspaper reports that his reappointment to the post he left during the short-lived Liz Truss government has caused anguish for many civil servants, with some considering resigning.

For its part, the tabloid “The Sun” indicates that Mr. Raab would have thrown tomatoes in a fit of anger during a meeting, which his spokesman described as “nonsense”, stressing that “Dominic works hard and expects a lot from his team and from himself”.

These accusations lead to questions about the choices of Rishi Sunak’s team when appointing his government team, with the Labor opposition calling on the Prime Minister to explain himself.

Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner called for an “urgent and independent” investigation.

Tuesday evening already, the British minister without portfolio Gavin Williamson had announced his resignation after accusations of harassment.

In particular, he would have insulted the former “whip” (in charge of the discipline of the Conservative deputies) to complain of not having been invited to the funeral of Elizabeth II. Others report that he told an official to “cut his throat” and “throw himself out the window.”

The Prime Minister’s office, the Conservative Party and the commission in charge of harassment in Parliament have opened investigations targeting this controversial minister, who has already been sacked from two governments under Theresa May and then under Boris Johnson.

Rishi Sunak denounced “unacceptable reproached behavior” but assured that he was not aware of “specific concerns” when appointing him.


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