UK deputy prime minister quits after bullying investigation

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LONDON: UK Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigned Friday after an independent investigation found he bullied civil servants.Raab’s announcement the day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak received findings into eight formal complaints that Raab, who is also justice secretary, had been abusive toward staff members during a previous stint in that office and while serving as Britain’s foreign secretary and Brexit secretary.Raab, 49, denied claims he belittled and demeaned his staff and said he “behaved professionally at all times,” but had said he would resign if the bullying complaints were upheld.The investigation made two findings of bullying against him and dismissed the others, Raab said in his resignation letter. But he called the findings “flawed” and said the inquiry “set a dangerous precedent” by “setting the threshold for bullying so low.”He said he quit because he was “duty bound” to resign since he had promised to.The resignation spares Sunak from having to determine the fate of his top deputy.Sunak received the investigation report Thursday morning and was carefully considering the findings but didn’t immediately make a decision, spokesperson Max Blain said.The case presented a conundrum for Sunak: fire Raab and open himself to criticism for hiring him in the first place, or keep him in the job and be criticized for failing to follow through on his promise to restore integrity to the Conservative government.The report is the latest ethics headache for Sunak, who vowed to restore order and integrity to government after three years of instability under predecessors Boris Johnson and Liz Truss. Multiple scandals brought Johnson down in summer 2022, and Truss quit in October after six weeks in office when her tax-cutting economic plans sparked mayhem on the financial markets.But Sunak has struggled to shake off opposition allegations that the Conservative government remains mired in scandal and sleaze.Raab was erected to Parliament in 2010 and unsuccessfully sought to become Conservative Party leader in 2019 before throwing his support behind Johnson. Appointed deputy prime minister under Johnson, he briefly took charge of the government when Johnson was hospitalized with COVID-19 in April 2020.