By Andrew Allison, Chief Executive.
Dominic Raab didn't shout and swear at civil servants, nor did he throw tomatoes. But he was found guilty in the report by Adam Tolley KC for being intimidating. He was abrasive not abusive. As a result, Raab has been forced to resign as Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary. As Raab said in his resignation letter to the Prime Minister:
"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."
He is correct. Civil servants who are critical of Government policies, can now complain about their minister's unreasonable demands (in other words, asking them to get on with their jobs) and accuse them of micro-aggressions such as raising an eyebrow or not maintaining eye contact. I have no doubt that civil servants at the Home Office will go after Suella Braverman next because they disagree with her handling of the migrant crisis. It is open season for civil servants to remove Government ministers and the Prime Minister is going to accept all of it.
Bullying is wrong, but doing your job to the best of your ability, having high standards, and expecting officials to also have high standards, is what we expect from ministers. We can all be abrasive at times. All of us have good days and bad days. It's called life.