Raab sent to the backbenches after colourful ministerial career
Karate fan Dominic Raab has given himself the chop following the findings of a report into bullying allegations made against him.
His resignation as deputy prime minister and justice secretary would appear to have ended his ambitions of one day taking over in No 10.
For Rishi Sunak, the departure of his deputy has left him without a key trusted ally in Government and adds to questions about his judgment over Mr Raab’s initial appointment.
Mr Raab, who ran for the Tory leadership himself in 2019, backed Mr Sunak in 2022’s contests for No 10.
His loyalty was rewarded by Mr Sunak, who returned him to the roles of deputy prime minister and justice secretary which he had previously held under Boris Johnson.
But the decision caused consternation in Whitehall, where there had long been rumours about Mr Raab’s behaviour towards officials in his departments.
Working with Mr Raab led some to suffer “mental health crises”, according to Dave Penman, the leader of the FDA union which represents senior Whitehall staff.
But allies of Mr Raab downplayed his behaviour as “demanding” and suggested officials should be prepared to work in challenging situations.
Mr Raab, a karate black belt, fought back against the claims, insisting he has “behaved professionally throughout”.
But the 49-year-old has had a colourful political career which has left him no stranger to controversy.
The son of a Czech-born Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis in 1938, Mr Raab was brought up in Buckinghamshire and studied law at Oxford University before switching to Cambridge for his masters.
He competed in karate for 17 years, winning two British southern region titles, and making the UK squad.
Mr Raab also enjoyed boxing at university, which he claimed was “pretty good in terms of preparing me for other big moments”, although “nothing has ever wracked me with nerves quite the same way”.
The senior Tory denied claims, made by his former diary secretary in 2018, that he insisted on the same Pret A Manger lunch every day.
The “Dom Raab special” apparently consisted of a chicken Caesar and bacon baguette, Superfruit Pot and a Vitamin Volcano smoothie.
He has ruffled feathers with remarks on feminism and taking the knee in the past, and was demoted from foreign secretary after widespread criticism of his handling of the Afghanistan crisis.
A Foreign Office lawyer before standing for Parliament, Mr Raab was elected as the MP for Esher and Walton in 2010.
His political career suffered an early setback when Theresa May took offence at his description of some feminists as “obnoxious bigots” in a 2011 article in which he attacked the “equality bandwagon” and said men were getting “a raw deal”.
In 2018, Mrs May appointed Mr Raab as housing minister, promoting him to Brexit secretary later that year, though he dramatically quit within months in protest against the then-prime minister’s Brexit policies.
During his unsuccessful run in the race to replace Mrs May as party leader in 2019, Mr Raab played up his image as a Brexit hard man in an attempt to win support from the Tory right.
During the contest, he said he would “probably not” describe himself as a feminist although he was “all for working women making the very best of their potential”.
He threw his weight behind Mr Johnson after his elimination from the contest, and was rewarded with an elevation to foreign secretary and first secretary of state.
When the then-prime minister was admitted to hospital with coronavirus in 2020, Mr Raab found himself effectively leading the Government during some of the darkest days of the pandemic.
In 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests, the married father of two suggested “taking the knee” was a symbol of subjugation which originated in TV drama Game Of Thrones, adding he only kneels for “the Queen and the missus when I asked her to marry me”.
Mr Raab’s tenure as foreign secretary was blighted by accusations he was “missing in action” during the UK’s chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan.
He was on holiday in Crete in August 2021 as the Taliban swept across the country and was seen relaxing on a beach on the Greek island as members of the militant group entered Kabul, although he insisted he was in touch with officials and ministerial colleagues.
Despite a career which frequently left him in hot water, he denied he was paddleboarding while the Taliban advanced because “the sea was actually closed”.
A subsequent demotion in September 2021 saw him head to the Ministry of Justice, although he was given the title of deputy prime minister for the first time.
But another ill-timed holiday saw him on leave in Surrey with his family as criminal barristers voted for an all-out strike.
As Mr Johnson’s premiership unravelled last summer and a slew of ministers resigned, Mr Raab remained loyal to the scandal-plagued prime minister.
But once Mr Johnson was out the door, Mr Raab was a high-profile backer of Mr Sunak, only for Liz Truss to emerge victorious and consign him to the backbenches.
The chaotic collapse of her administration saw him swiftly return to his familiar roles of justice secretary and deputy prime minister under Mr Sunak.
But after official complaints about his behaviour were made, the Prime Minister appointed senior lawyer Adam Tolley to look into the claims – an investigation which has now sealed Mr Raab’s fate.
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