The full report into Raab can be read here and the Prime Minister’s response can be read below.
Thank you for your letter notifying me of your decision to resign from your position in His Majesty’s government as deputy prime minister and lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice. It is with great sadness that I have accepted your resignation.
When I became prime minister in October last year, I pledged that the government I lead would have integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level. The Ministerial Code requires ministers to uphold the highest standards.
When formal complaints about your conduct in different ministerial posts were submitted last year, I appointed at your request an independent investigator to conduct a full investigation into the specific facts surrounding these complaints. Adam Tolley KC has now submitted his report and I have carefully considered its findings, as well as consulting the independent adviser on minsters’ interests.
As you say, you had – rightly – undertaken to resign if the report made any finding of bullying whatsoever. You have kept your word. But it is clear that there have been shortcomings in the historic process that have negatively affected everyone involved. We should learn from this how to better handle such matters in future.
But your resignation should not make us forget your record of delivery in both this government and previous administrations. These achievements should make your extremely proud.
Most recently as secretary of state for justice and lord chancellor, you have put the rights of victims at the heart of our criminal justice system through our landmark Victims and Prisoners Bill, as well as increasing sentences for violent criminals, reforming the probation system, and pushing forward the biggest prison-building programme this country has seen in over a century.
As foreign secretary, you were a major driving force of the 2021 Integrated Review, conceiving and delivering the Indo-Pacific tilt. I know the personal drive you also displayed to create the UK’s new independent sanctions regime and in our response to the undermining of human rights and democracy in Hong Kong.
During the Covid crisis, you stepped in when the then prime minister was hospitalised. You provided the country – and your cabinet colleagues – with reassurance and leadership at a moment of profound national concern. As chancellor at the time, I was struck by the collegiate way in which you handled this most difficult of challenges.
I will always be grateful for your steadfast personal support during last year’s Conservative Party leadership contest from the day you introduced me at the launch to the last day of the contest. The subsequent dedication, commitment and loyalty with which you have discharged your responsibilities as deputy prime minister has been typical of your belief in public service.
I look forward to receiving your support from the backbenches as you continue to passionately represent your constituents of Esher and Walton. Thank you for your service to this and previous governments and I wish you and your family every possible success for the future.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary has resigned following the publication of the bullying inquiry report conducted by Adam Tolley KC. His full resignation letter is below:
Dear prime minister,
I am writing to resign from your government, following receipt of the report arising from the inquiry conducted by Adam Tolley KC. I called for the inquiry and undertook to resign, if it made any finding of bullying whatsoever. I believe it is important to keep my word.
It has been a privilege to serve you as deputy prime minister, justice secretary and lord chancellor. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work as a minister in a range of roles and departments since 2015, and pay tribute to the many outstanding civil servants with whom I have worked.
Whilst I feel duty bound to accept the outcome of the inquiry, it dismissed all but two of the claims levelled against me. I also believe that its two adverse findings are flawed and set a dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government. First, ministers must be able to exercise direct oversight with respect to senior officials over critical negotiations conducted on behalf of the British people, otherwise the democratic and constitutional principle of ministerial responsibility will be lost. This was particularly true during my time as foreign secretary, in the context of the Brexit negotiations over Gibraltar, when a senior diplomat breached the mandate agreed by cabinet.
Second, ministers must be able to give direct critical feedback on briefings and submissions to senior officials, in order to set the standards and drive the reform the public expect of us. Of course, this must be done within reasonable bounds. Mr Tolley concluded that I had not once, in four and a half years, sworn or shouted at anyone, let alone thrown anything or otherwise physically intimidated anyone, nor intentionally sought to belittle anyone. I am genuinely sorry for any unintended stress or offence that any officials felt, as a result of the pace, standards and challenge that I brought to the Ministry of Justice. That is, however, what the public expect of ministers working on their behalf.
In setting the threshold for bullying so low, this inquiry has set a dangerous precedent. It will encourage spurious complaints against ministers, and have a chilling effect on those driving change on behalf of your government – and ultimately the British people.
Finally, I raised with you a number of improprieties that came to light during the course of this inquiry. They include the systematic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims to the media in breach of the rules of the inquiry and the Civil Service Code of Conduct, and the coercive removal by a senior official of dedicated Private Secretaries from my Ministry of Justice Private Office, in October of last year. I hope these will be independently reviewed.
I remain as supportive of you and this government, as when I first introduced you at your campaign leadership launch last July. You have proved a great prime minister in very challenging times, and you can count on my support from the backbenches.