Anonymous Anti-Raab Briefers Should Put Up or Shut Up

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…

mdi-timer 15 November 2022 @ 11:15 15 Nov 2022 @ 11:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Half of Nightingale Courts Set to Close in Weeks

The Ministry of Justice has announced it will close 11 of the temporary Nightingale courts created during the pandemic over the next few weeks, while a further 12 will remain open for another year in an effort to tackle the backlog. Latest figures show the crown court backlog was still hovering around 59,000 in December, though this is at least a fall of 2,000 since the peak in June 2021. Although the waiting time between a reported offence and a verdict is still longer than ever…

Even so, with the ending of all other Covid measures last week, the MoJ now think it’s the right time to make the call – especially now that courtroom capacity has returned to the pre-pandemic norm. Justice minister James Cartlidge said Nightingale courts were

“…a valuable weapon in the fight against the pandemic’s unprecedented impact on our courts, providing temporary extra capacity … we are beginning to see the backlog drop so victims can get the speedier justice they deserve“.

The jury’s out on that one…

mdi-timer 3 March 2022 @ 09:05 3 Mar 2022 @ 09:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Raab’s Department on a Critical Race Theory Social Justice Drive

Dominic Raab obviously had a cracking start to his new job last Wednesday. Just as he settled into his new office chair at the Ministry of Justice, one of the first items to arrive in his inbox was a polite reminder for all MoJ civil servants to brush up on their Critical Race Theory (CRT). Linking to an article that suggests “there is no single objective truth or reality”, and even criticises Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch for her “controversialviews on the subject, the round robin email recommended everyone give it a read because it might be “illuminating“. Useful stuff for a department currently grappling with a court backlog of over 60,000 cases…

Given Raab himself made headlines last year for refusing to kneel during the BLM protests because it was “a symbol of subjugation and subordination” – and a gesture “taken from the Game of Thrones” – Guido’s sure he poured over every dot and comma of’s helpful piece. Raab will want to roll-back on this poison emanating from his own Ministry of Justice public appointments division….

mdi-timer 20 September 2021 @ 11:10 20 Sep 2021 @ 11:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Ministry of Justice Permanent Secretary Braces for Sacking

After Mark Sedwill’s sooner-than-expected departure from Downing Street yesterday, attention is turning to potential further mandarin overhauls instigated by from a bullish No. 10. The Ministry of Justice’s permanent secretary Sir Richard Heaton’s name was immediately floated.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee this afternoon, Heaton confirmed his contract is up for renewal next month after five years in the role, however claimed it is merely “speculation” whether his contract will or won’t be renewed. Guido suspects this is a brave public face from Sir Richard who knows in reality his fate is sealed…

The Permanent Secretary also threw civil service caution to the wind, saying there was under-investment in prison maintenance from 2010-17 and Britain is now “paying the consequences”. Guido spots this afternoon Heaton’s official Twitter account was quietly deleted. The behaviour of someone expecting to still have their job a month from now?

mdi-timer 29 June 2020 @ 16:10 29 Jun 2020 @ 16:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Buckland’s Musical Ministry Metamorphosis

Robert Buckland’s official No. 10 profile lists music as one of his interests, something he proved to the world in December during a gung-ho performance of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, and last September with a rendition of Danny Boy for his constituents. Guido worries his love of music may be swiftly becoming a distraction from the day job however…

At the weekend a Linkedin listing for the job of “Head of Probation Communications” at the department was advertised as a role at the “Ministry of Sound”. While an MoJ source blamed the job agency used by the department, Guido can’t be sure Buckland isn’t leaving hints for a reshuffle switch to DCMS…

mdi-timer 3 June 2020 @ 13:45 3 Jun 2020 @ 13:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Gauke Refuses to Join Calls to Ban Worboys From London

David Gauke was under more pressure in the Commons today as MPs queued up to ask why he isn’t doing more to make sure John Worboys is banned from Greater London, where his hundreds of victims live. The Justice Secretary refused to back calls for a Greater London exclusion zone, despite the MoJ engaging with the licence conditions process on a daily basis. Why would Gauke not do the obviously right thing and endorse victims’ calls for an exclusion zone? Yet again a desperately weak response from the government…

UPDATE: Guido understands Gauke wrote to the Probation Service two weeks ago to ask them to consider if it is appropriate to exclude Worboys from Greater London. Not the same as demanding he is banned from the capital…

mdi-timer 23 January 2018 @ 12:28 23 Jan 2018 @ 12:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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