LONDON – United Kingdom (UK) Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigned on Friday, one day after an independent report into allegations that he bullied staff members while working at several government departments reached the desk of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
An inquiry was requested by Raab in November last year following formal complaints about his bullying behavior when dealing with civil servants.
Sunak appointed senior employment lawyer Adam Tolley to lead an independent investigation.
Raab "humiliated" and "intimidated" civil servants, the report said, which was published in full on the government website on Friday.
In his resignation posted on Twitter, however, Raab hit out at the inquiry, saying: "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."
While expressing "great sadness" over Raab's departure, Sunak said: "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."
Raab also resigned from his post of secretary of state for justice, making him the third senior minister to leave Sunak's government over their personal conduct.
Gavin Williamson, a member of Sunak's cabinet, quit in November over bullying claims and Sunak sacked Conservative Party Chair Nadhim Zahawi in January for a "serious breach" of the ministerial code amid a multimillion-dollar tax dispute.
Sunak himself is also facing an investigation by a parliamentary watchdog over whether he properly declared his wife's shares in a childcare agency that would benefit from policy changes in his administration's budget.
After assuming the post of prime minister last October, Sunak vowed to lead a government of "integrity, professionalism, and accountability" as the chaotic period under his two predecessors -- the scandal-hit Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, who had a short-lived tenure due to economic turbulence -- damaged the reputation of the Tory Party and cast a cloud over its prospects in the next general elections.
Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said Raab's resignation showed Sunak's "continual weakness" as the prime minister should have sacked Raab instead of letting him resign.
"No matter how many times you change the person at the top, you've essentially got a party that just can't deliver, just can't govern," Starmer told reporters.
Oliver Dowden, chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has been appointed as the new deputy prime minister. Alex Chalk, currently serving as minister of state in the Ministry of Defence, has been named as Raab's successor in the post of justice secretary. (Xinhua)