British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has received an independent report into allegations of bullying against Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and is considering his response, Sunak’s spokesperson said on Thursday.
The allegations against his ally could result in the third departure of a senior government minister over their personal conduct since Sunak entered Downing Street in October, and would hinder his efforts to revive his Conservative Party’s polling fortunes ahead of a national election expected next year.
The review was requested by Raab himself in November following formal complaints about his behaviour by government officials, and lawyer Adam Tolley was appointed by Sunak to lead an independent investigation.
Raab has promised to resign if the allegations were upheld.
“The prime minister has received the report from Adam Tolley the independent investigator. He received the findings this morning. He is considering those findings,” Sunak’s spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said that Sunak wished to publish his response as soon as possible, but did not say if that would be on Thursday.
Raab, who is also justice minister, has said he was confident he had behaved professionally throughout, while Sunak initially defended his deputy when the reports surfaced, saying he did not recognise allegations that Raab had bullied staff.
Sunak promised after he became prime minister last year to create a government of “integrity, professionalism, and accountability” following the scandal-ridden tenure of Boris Johnson and the chaotic economic policies that brought down Liz Truss after less than two months.
Another senior minister, Gavin Williamson, was forced to resign after bullying allegations in November, and Sunak sacked Conservative Party chair Nadhim Zahawi in January after he was found to have broken the ministerial code over his openness about his tax affairs.
Sunak is facing his own investigation by parliament’s standards watchdog into his behaviour over whether he properly declared his wife’s shareholding in a childcare company which stands to benefit from new government policy.