Dominic Raab’s 5 worst moments as a Tory MP

Raab will not be missed, not least from his staff, as he resigns as deputy prime minister and justice secretary

Handing in his ‘sorry, not sorry’ resignation letter today following allegations of bullying, we look back at some of Dominic Raab’s worst moments in office.

Raab held the role of deputy prime minister and justice secretary from September 2021-2022, before being dropped briefly under Liz Truss, and then reinstated again under Rishi Sunak last October. He is also remembered for his brief stints as Brexit secretary and foreign secretary.

His latest time in office has been tarnished by an investigation against him into bullying, which has now revealed he was ‘insulting’ to staff and acted in an ‘intimidating’ way with ‘persistently aggressive conduct’.

However this won’t be all he’s remembered for, as a series of embarrassments line his political history in office.

1. Successor resolving barrister strikes for him

As justice secretary, Raab refused to negotiate with barristers over a long-running pay dispute and strike action. Then, during his brief removal from the role under Liz Truss’s short stint in office, his successor Brandon Lewis proceeded to resolve the dispute within weeks.

Raab was then reinstated by Sunak, where he continued to see the deal that ended the strikes through, however also awkwardly deciding to disown the deal and let everyone know how much it frustrated him.

2. Defending Boris Johnson breaking the law

As Boris Johnson faced growing pressure to resign following the Sue Gray report into lockdown parties, Raab attempted to defend Johnson by claiming that breaking the law did not amount to a breach of the ministerial code.

An interview on Sky News revealed that, despite being the secretary of justice, Raab’s knowledge of law was divorced from reality as he said the situation was ‘not quite that simple’ – well, it certainly was for the public.

Raab was mocked further for another bizarre claim attempting to divert attention from the No10 Christmas parties, when he said police, ‘don’t normally look back and investigate things that have taken place a year ago’.

Jess Phillips, the shadow minister for domestic violence, commented: “Dominic Raab seemingly thinks he’s the justice secretary in Minority Report where only future crimes are of interest.”

3. ‘Too busy’ on holiday during Taliban take over of Kabul

Readers may remember previous calls for Raab to resign back in 2021, when he faced scathing criticism for shirking responsibility during the fall of Kabul, losing vital time for desperate refugees trying to escape.

On holiday in Crete while the Taliban were taking over Kabul in Afghanistan, then foreign secretary Raab was accused of passing on tasks to a junior foreign minister, who it was claimed Afghan authorities initially refused to set up call with, meaning crucial time was lost which could have saved more Afghan interpreters. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer took to Twitter to ask: “Who wouldn’t make a phone call if they were told it could save somebody’s life?”

This led to Raab’s de-motion from foreign secretary to justice secretary under Boris Johnson.

4. When he said he hadn’t read the Good Friday Agreement – as Brexit secretary

The 36-page document was apparently not a page-turner enough to warrant the then Brexit secretary’s full attention, despite him being responsible for giving evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

When asked if he’d read the agreement, Raab said, “It’s not like a novel, you sit down and say, ‘do you know what, over the holidays.. this is a cracking read’.”

5. The Angela Rayner wink

The infamous wink, which Rayner summed up as “a bit weird” and making the public feel “a bit eww”, followed with a flurry of accusations of misogyny against Raab.

Raab also made a jibe at Rayner about her attending the opera, for which his ‘snobbery’ was also condemned for attempting to ‘belittle and mock’ Rayner.  

Labour MP Toby Perkins posted on Twitter: “I will never unsee Dominic Raab’s wink from the despatch box at Angela Rayner. I feel soiled.”

Whilst Raab later claimed the wink was actually not aimed at Rayner at all, but in fact at Scotland secretary Ian Murray..

Hannah Davenport is trade union reporter at Left Foot Forward

(Photo credit: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt / Creative Commons)

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