Media headlines continue burbling about Dominic Raab this morning as yet more anonymous allegations are briefed to the press by disgruntled civil servants.
Process stories are running on whether Simon Case was told anything by senior officials; whether Simon McDonald warned Raab about his behaviour during his time as Foreign Secretary; and whether a senior FCDO official suggested junior staff should have their hands held by their seniors in meetings with him. All very interesting to a scalp-hungry Lobby, all very vague.
Guido observes this is the key difference between Raab and Gavin Williamson. With Williamson there were mounting specific allegations; against Wendy Morton, and against an MP in financial trouble he threatened. The accusations were made by MPs with personal experience, speaking on the record.
With Raab we’ve had just one actual allegation – that he angrily threw a Pret tomato into a paper bag. It was laughable. Many in Westminster sympathetic to Raab suspect his only crime was telling members of the thin-skinned, work-shy blob to pull their fingers out and do their job.
One senior ex-official at the Ministry of Justice, who served under Raab, has offered this alternative briefing to Guido in his defence:
“I worked with Dominic Raab at the MoJ as an official. He was an abrasive arse much of the time. But that was and is much better than a lot of people working there deserved.
“The key thing is that he was abrasive. But that was and is exactly what that clusterf**k of a department required.
“I’m all in favour of complaints about bullying of whatever scale being properly investigated – as long as complaints about idle, useless civil servants are subjected to the same process.”
Another former government source points out that for all Simon McDonald’s media showboating about Raab, he is nakedly a party political actor with many axes to grind (he is a former perm sec at the Foreign Office). As Harry Cole points out, it’s also distasteful to see McDonald attempt to cast himself as an expert in leadership “when his handling of the Harry Dunn affair was a disaster from start to finish.”
When it comes to Labour’s political point-scoring, they’re going to be amazed to hear how Gordon Brown treated his No. 10 staff…