Dominic Raab should be suspended, says ex-Conservative chairman
Dominic Raab should be suspended as deputy prime minister until an inquiry into bullying allegations against him is over, an ex-Tory chairman has said. Speaking to the BBC, Jake Berry said MPs and ministers were “not some form of special human being” and should be treated “like anyone else”.
Mr Raab, also the justice secretary, is facing several complaints from civil servants who have worked with him in a range of government departments. He has denied allegations of bullying.
Mr Berry, who was Conservative Party chairman in 2022, told Radio 4’s Week in Westminster: “It would be very bizarre if you had someone in any other workplace who wasn’t suspended pending that investigation. MPs and ministers are not some form of special human being – I think they should just be treated like anyone else is in their workplace.”
He said there should be a formal mechanism whereby ministers could be susHannah White, from the Institute for Government think tank, says introducing a formal suspension mechanism could have some advantages – including allowing a minister to claim back lost salary if an inquiry concluded they had not broken any rules.
However, she says it could discourage prime ministers from ordering investigations in the first place and increase ministerial turnover.
Asked about Mr Sunak’s handling of the standards issues, Mr Berry said: “We have a system in Parliament that you’re either in a job or you’re not in a job. The way these sort of complaints would be dealt with in the private sector is you would be suspended while they were investigated.”
Labour and the Liberal Democrats, as well as the FDA union for senior civil servants, have also called for Mr Raab’s suspension. Mr Sunak has said he will wait for the outcome of Mr Tolley’s inquiry before taking any action ended during investigations.
Currently, it is not possible for a prime minister to formally temporarily remove a minister – although they could sack someone with the understanding the minister would return if cleared by an investigation.
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