Rishi Sunak has been branded “weak” for not suspending Dominic Raab despite multiple bullying complaints. 

During a heated session of Prime Minister’s Questions, the Tory leader was also asked by Sir Keir Starmer if he was "completely unaware of serious allegations of bullying" against the Deputy Prime Minister before he was appointed to cabinet. 

He claimed the Tories had an "addiction to sleaze and scandal."

READ MORE: Rees-Mogg criticised after dismissing 'snowflakey' Raab bullying complaints

Mr Sunak hit back at the leader of the opposition, claiming he was bankrolled by Just Stop Oil and pointing to recent reports about Labour MP Rosie Duffield, who recently compared being in the party to an “abusive relationship.”

He claimed Sir Keir could not "be trusted to stand up for the women in his party."

During the Commons exchange, Sir Keir reminded the Prime Minister that there were now at least 24 officials involved in the formal complaints against Mr Raab.

"According to recent reports, some of the complainants were physically sick. One says they were left suicidal.

"How would he feel if one of his friends or relatives was being forced to work for a bully, simply because the man at the top was too weak to do anything about it?"

READ MORE: Dominic Raab facing 'at least 24' bullying complaints

Mr Sunak replied: "When I was made aware of formal complaints I instructed a leading independent KC to conduct an investigation because I take action when these things happen."

Mr Raab was sitting beside Mr Sunak in the Commons as the allegations dominated the session. 

The Herald:

Sir Keir said Mr Sunak had ignored reports about Nadhim Zahawi’s tax dispute and was now doing the same over the allegations around Mr Raab’s conduct.

“Is the Prime Minister now also going to claim that he’s the only person completely unaware of serious allegations of bullying against the Deputy Prime Minister before he appointed him?” he asked. 

Mr Sunak said he had “followed due process.”

“I appointed an independent adviser as soon as I was made aware of new information.”

He then raised the case of Ms Duffield, who has been critical of Labour’s support for gender law reforms. 

According to a leaked conversation, published by the Guido Fawkes website, a spokesman for Sir Keir is said to have suggested that Ms Duffield’s constituents wanted her to “spend a bit more time” in her constituency rather than “hanging out with JK Rowling”.

The Prime Minister said: “If he is so concerned about what people are saying and so concerned about behaviour in public life, then recently one of his own MPs was forced to speak out because being in his party had reminded her of being in an ‘abusive relationship’.

“And then his own office was caught undermining her. He ought to be supporting her and her colleagues, but if he can’t be trusted to stand up for the women in his party, he can’t be trusted to stand up for Britain.”

The Herald:

Sir Keir said: “He’s just like one of his predecessors who treated questions about conduct as something to brush off, who thought ducking responsibility was a perfectly reasonable response for a prime minister. 

“At least, in fairness, his predecessor didn’t go around pretending he was a paragon of integrity and accountability."

READ MORE: Calls for probe into BBC chief's involvement in Boris Johnson loan

The Labour leader then raised reports that banker Richard Sharp helped arrange a guarantee on a loan of up to £800,000 for Boris Johnson just weeks before the then prime minister put him forward to be the Chairman of the BBC.

“Was it a coincidence that the two people who arranged an £800,000 line of credit for the former prime minister were both short-listed for plum jobs at the BBC and the British Council?” Sir Keir asked.

Mr Sunak replied: “As we addressed previously, the appointments process for the BBC chairman is rigorous, transparent, it’s set out in a public code of conduct and indeed was fully supported not just by expert panel members, but also by the cross-party DCMS select committee, including where Labour members described the appointment as ‘impressive’.”


He then went on to criticise Sir Keir for voting against minimum service levels during strikes and opposition to the Public Order Bill.

Mr Sunak added: “What do the unions and Just Stop Oil have in common? They bankroll him and his party. So while he sides with extremist protesters and union bosses, we stand up for hard-working Britons and schoolchildren.”

Earlier in the day, Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA union, which represents civil servants said any in other position, Mr Raab would have been suspended.

“Dominic Raab is now facing investigations around eight separate complaints involving what we understand is dozens of civil servants in three separate government departments over a period of four years,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

“If that was any other employee, if that was a permanent secretary in the civil service, they would in all likelihood be suspended from their job while the investigation took place.

“That’s not to prejudge the investigation, that’s to say if there are serious allegations of bullying and extensive allegations like this, that one of the considerations is how do you protect employees from that sort of behaviour?

"And while it’s being determined you would normally suspend someone, given the seriousness and extent of those accusations.”