Rishi Sunak – live: Raab bullying investigation to begin as deputy PM denies claims

Maryam Zakir-Hussain and Liam James

Wed, 23 November 2022 at 7:10 pm

An investigation into alleged bullying by deputy prime minister Dominic Raab will start imminently after the appointment of a senior employment lawyer to lead proceedings.

Downing Street said that barrister Adam Tolley KC will be able to interview potential witnesses and have access to documents relating to the case including emails and WhatsApp messages.

And he will be able to discuss extending the scope of the inquiry with prime minister Rishi Sunak if fresh allegations emerge.

Rishi Sunak’s official spokesperson said that Mr Tolley’s findings will be published in full. It will be for the lawyer to decide whether to make recommendations of sanctions if he finds against Mr Raab, but the PM will have the final say on any punishment, which could include dismissal from the government.

The justice secretary asked Mr Sunak to order an inquiry after the two formal complaints were submitted on 15 November, and has vowed to “thoroughly rebut and refute” allegations against him.

Elsewhere, Mr Sunak refused to end Britain’s controversial non-domicile tax status, claiming it would cost too much money to change the rules after being challenged on the issue by Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs today.

Key points

  • Dominic Raab bullying inquiry to begin after investigator revealed
  • Rishi Sunak refuses to end non-dom tax status claiming it would cost too much
  • Scotland cannot hold second independence referendum, Supreme Court rules
  • Millions of pensioners to receive cost of living energy bill support today
  • Mick Lynch says union has to respond from ‘broken promises’ by senior officials

UK spends more on refugees at home than help for poor countries

19:22 , Jane Dalton

The UK is spending more aid on hosting refugees at home than on health and humanitarian assistance for poor countries, statistics on last year’s finances show.

Spending was down £3 billion from a year earlier to £11.4 billion in 2021, when the Government slashed the aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income.

Bilateral aid, which is delivered to countries by the UK directly, took the biggest hit, according to figures released by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

It fell by £2.4 billion in a year, compared to a £0.7 billion drop in aid going to multilateral institutions including the World Bank.

UK spend on bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) decreased across all sectors except “refugees in donor countries”, the largest beneficiary, which increased nearly 68% to reach £1 billion.

“The increase was primarily driven by an increase in Home Office ODA spend, partly due to increased accommodation costs for the rising number of asylum-seekers coming to the UK,” the foreign office said.

Speaker rebukes SNP MP for tweeting letter

16:36 , Liam James

Sir Lindsay Hoyle gave an SNP MP a dressing down in the Commons for sharing their correspondence on Twitter.

The speaker called on Ochil and South Perthshire MP John Nicolson to apologise for posting part of his letter relating to a decision on referring Conservative former culture secretary Nadine Dorries to the Privileges Committee.

Making a statement in the chamber following PMQs, the Speaker said: “[He] has seen fit to give a partial and biased account of my letter on Twitter and I await his apology … It is not the way we should be doing business in this House.”

Responding, Mr Nicolson said: “I want to put on record that I deplore social media pile-ons against you or indeed anyone else. I’ve been on the receiving end of them and they’re exceedingly unpleasant.

“But could I ask for guidance on what I and other members should tell their constituents about integrity in politics in this context? If someone misleads a committee, what should happen next?”

Sir Lindsay replied: “Printing the letter but only half the letter is not integrity – in fact, far from it.

“It misled the people of this country, it certainly put me in a bad light with the people of this country, and I don’t expect that to happen – an impartial Speaker – so if that was an apology I don’t think it was very good.”

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