Dominic Raab ‘to stand down’ at next election after bullying claims end Cabinet career
Dominic Raab reportedly plans to stand down at the next election after being forced to quit Cabinet over bullying claims.
Just weeks after being forced to quit as deputy prime minister due to the findings of a bullying probe, the Telegraph reports that Mr Raab has informed his local Tory party that he intends to stand down at the 2024 election.
Mr Raab has represented Esher and Walton in Surrey since 2010 – one of the top Liberal Democrat target seats at the next election, after the party came within 2,800 votes of ousting him on an anti-Brexit platform in 2019.
According to the newspaper, Mr Raab cited his desire to spend more time with his young sons, aged eight and 10, in the letter to his local Conservative Association.
He reportedly wrote: “I have become increasingly concerned over the last few years about the pressure the job has placed on my young family.”
Mr Raab added: “It has been a huge honour to represent the Conservatives, since 2010, in this wonderful constituency… I will continue to carry out all my responsibilities to my constituents, and provide every support in campaigning, so that we win here next year – which I am confident we can do under this Prime Minister’s leadership.”
He joins an outflux of Tory politicians ahead of the next election, with at least 36 Conservative MPs so far confirming plans to seek a life outside of the Commons instead of facing a gruelling campaign to cling onto power while Labour leads in the polls.
Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock, Alister Jack, Nadine Dorries and Sir Graham Brady are among the prominent figures who have said they will not contest their seats. The party also risks losing some of its younger talent as a number of MPs in their 30s and 40s have also decided to call it quits.
Mr Raab was one of the most powerful figures in Cabinet under both Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, even deputising for Mr Johnson during the Covid-19 pandemic when the then-Prime Minister was admitted to intensive care.
He was a pivotal backer of Mr Sunak’s leadership ambitions, helping to ease his path to power after Liz Truss’s brief premiership saw both men cast out into the political wilderness.
Mr Sunak rewarded him by making him deputy prime minister as well as justice secretary – but was forced to launch an investigation into his conduct just a month later when allegations of bullying arose.
Mr Raab was forced to resign from Cabinet in April after the probe upheld two complaints relating to his conduct towards civil servants, though it stopped short of describing them as bullying.
At the time, Mr Raab claimed that the findings were “flawed and set a dangerous precedent for the conduct of good government,” adding that “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 from us”.
Mr Sunak had responded: “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.”