Where does Dominic Raab go from here? | Conservatives #Dominic #Raab #Conservatives

Dominic Raab, a karate black belt holder, did not go without a fight. He quit as deputy prime minister on Friday with an incendiary attack on the civil servants who accused him of bullying, raising questions about what he will do next.

Consigned to the backbenches, the former justice secretary has promised to continue serving Rishi Sunak loyally but could still be a thorn in his side.

Raab told the BBC that he wanted to “let the dust settle a little bit” before making a decision about his own future.

He was seen as the pioneer of the “bill of rights” – a controversial piece of legislation whose future many assume is in doubt after his disappearance from the cabinet.

He has also called for a separate independent review into major misgivings he has with the way his own conduct was scrutinised.

In his resignation letter, Raab demanded Sunak look into the “systematic leaking of skewed and fabricated claims” during the inquiry – contrary, he claimed, to the civil service code – and the “coercive removal” of his private secretaries.

However, Raab was urged to let the issues lie by Nadine Dorries, who served alongside him in the cabinet for several years under Boris Johnson.

She said she “wouldn’t even bother” fighting the findings and encouraged him to “walk away” after the nearly five-month inquiry.

“He’s an intelligent and highly qualified, very experienced individual,” Dorries told TalkTV on Friday.

“We don’t have to stay here and take the kind of abuse that MPs and ministers do. There’s a whole world waiting out there for somebody as qualified as Dominic Raab and I think probably, but that’s the decision he and his wife and his family had taken – it’s time to go.”

When he entered parliament in 2015, Raab had plenty of experience in the legal field – even bringing war criminals to justice.

The Commons contains several practising lawyers, and former cabinet ministers – such as the former attorney general Geoffrey Cox – have enjoyed pocketing significant sums of extra income by taking on outside work.

However, unlike Cox, who has a hefty 25,000-majority in his Torridge and West Devon constituency, Raab will be feeling the heat ahead of the next general election.

His Esher and Walton seat remains a significant target for the Liberal Democrats, who were fewer than 3,000 votes behind in 2019.

The demographic of the area has changed, as the “Surrey shuffle” continues to see liberallly inclined south Londoners move further down the A3 when they have children and go in search of less exorbitant houses.

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Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat leader, made a dash to Esher and Walton in the hours after Raab’s resignation. He claimed voters were “fed up with being taken for granted by the Conservative party” and there was ample outrage at the former justice secretary’s “disgraceful behaviour”.

An ally of Raab’s suggested he would have to focus much of the remaining time before the next general election, which Tory strategists believe will be held next autumn, shoring up support at home.

They said Raab was likely to lose his seat and he had “only come out fighting because that’s the sort of person he is and it’s a matter of fairness”.

Though Sunak lavished praised on Raab in the exchange of letters released by Downing Street on Friday, MPs felt confident he was unlikely to make a return to the cabinet before the next election.

“He wants to be seen as a wronged party,” said one former cabinet minister. “He’ll be like a dog with a bone on this issue now of ministers versus the civil service.”

Raab had some backing from colleagues, and it seems likely if he wants to continue the row with Whitehall from the backbenches he would be supported.

Joy Morrissey, an MP who served as an aide to Raab and is now a government whip, said: “We now live in a country where the definition of bullying includes telling someone to do their job.”

Raab could prove a helpful outrider to bash what some believe will be labelled the “woke” civil service – a technique that some Tories think enthuses their core voters, and has been employed by figures such as Jacob Rees-Mogg.

#Dominic #Raab #Conservatives

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