Dominic raab

The lost art of the bow tie

Whatever you think about Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab – whether you think he’s bully or a tomato-thrower, and whether you couldn’t care less if he is or isn’t – there is something you ought to know about him. Apparently, he can’t do up a bow tie. That’s according to the Financial Times journalist Sebastian Payne and his forthcoming book about the last days of Boris Johnson’s government. He tells the story of Raab arriving to counsel the Prime Minister during his last hours in Downing Street, dressed in white tie. ‘Raab awkwardly told Number 10 staffers he had to attend a white-tie dinner at the Mansion House in the

Raab hits back at his critics

Another week and another minister under pressure. But rather than hand in his resignation notice like Gavin Williamson, Dominic Raab has chosen to come out swinging against his critics. Facing questions about his conduct, the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (as he likes to be called) has drafted a public letter, confirming there are two formal complaints lodged against him. One was made during his time at the Foreign Office; the other during his first tenure as Justice Secretary. He has now requested that Rishi Sunak begin an independent investigation into the claims and promises to cooperate fully with the outcome. Raab says he

‘Those Jedi mind tricks don’t work on me’: Dominic Raab on Truss, Sunak and his own future

If Liz Truss is named prime minister next week, her administration will look rather different to the government of the past few years. Rishi Sunak has suggested he won’t accept any job offer. Michael Gove, a Sunak supporter, has pre-emptively ruled himself out. Other prominent backers are expected to join the pair on the backbenches – such as the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab. Truss’s allies say he deserves what’s coming his way for having likened her economic plans of immediate tax cuts to an ‘electoral suicide note’. Yet for a man on political death row, Raab is remarkably cheery when we meet at The Spectator’s offices.

Nick Cohen

The delusion of Dominic Raab

Boris Johnson will never sack ministers for being tawdry, lazy and incapable of doing their jobs — if he did, he would have to sack himself. Nevertheless, the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s investigation into the Foreign Office’s complicity in the Afghanistan catastrophe showed the consequences of the collapse in standards in ministerial competence better than any public inquiry I have seen. The autopsy was all the bloodier because Tom Tugendhat, who should be foreign secretary, was asking the questions, and Dominic Rabb, who really shouldn’t be foreign secretary, was ducking them. Raab’s demonstration of what he did not know was almost awe-inspiring. Did he, for example, know how many ministers were

Katy Balls

Raab faces an Afghan grilling from MPs

After a week of hostile briefings over his future as foreign secretary, Dominic Raab appeared before MPs this afternoon to face the music. As a blame game gets underway in Whitehall over the chaotic response to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Raab has found himself in the firing line. One government source suggested his handling of the crisis meant he ‘has about as much chance of being in a top four position by next spring as Arsenal’ when it comes to a cabinet reshuffle. This afternoon, Raab came out swinging — defending his department’s handling of the situation and pointing blame in the direction of others. Today’s appearance had been billed by


Watch: the four most awkward moments from Raab’s evidence

Fresh from his Crete holiday, Dominic Raab appeared at the Foreign Affairs Committee looking tense and awkward. The Foreign Secretary has been dragged to an extraordinary meeting of the panel specially convened in spite of the parliamentary recess to answer questions about the collapse of Afghanistan and rushed evacuation of the Western powers. Raab’s session overstretched to almost two hours and saw a range of hostile questions from right across the House. A glowering Tom Tugendhat ambushed the embattled minister with his department’s principle risks report from July 21 warning of collapse of Afghanistan while a deluge of questions about the Crete holiday were met by Raab’s insistence that such queries were

Dominic Raab and the problem of ‘distraction’

Dominic Raab blamed distraction for Boris Johnson’s woes when the Tories failed in two by-elections last week. ‘He has track records as long as his arm of misinformation and propaganda and this is a distraction from the real issues.’ Oh, no, I beg your pardon, that was what Mr Raab said about Vladimir Putin in March. What he said about the by-elections was: ‘I think we’ve had distractions because of partygate, because of too much Westminster internal, if you like, focus.’ Mr Raab hates distractions. They seem to drive him to distraction. ‘It’s a big distraction from the bread and butter issues,’ he said of June’s party vote of confidence

Rayner grills Raab over Lebedev and Saudi oil

When Angela Rayner faces Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions, it is obvious that both sides rather enjoy the exchanges. When she’s up against Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, as she was today, it feels like more of a grudge match. The session naturally centred around Ukraine, but as is Rayner’s habit, it was more political than previous PMQs. Labour’s deputy made her theme the government’s failure to ensure Britain’s oil security and links to Russian oligarchs. Much of her attack was about flaws in the absent Prime Minister’s own character: the first question was whether Johnson’s comments about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe when he was Foreign Secretary had made the situation

Priti’s drugs war goes up in smoke

One of the many things Priti Patel brought with her to the Home Office was a renewed focus on the ‘war on drugs’. Since her appointment in 2019, the Witham MP has made her distaste for substance abuse clear, accompanying police on house raids, deporting foreign dealers, declaring war on ‘county lines’ gangs and threatening ‘tough action’ on laughing gas. But is all that being let down by Dominic Raab and his colleagues over at the Ministry of Justice? For the number of drug incidents in Britain’s prisons have skyrocketed by more than 350 per cent over the last seven years, with MOJ figures published this week showing the total recorded in Britain’s prisons has

Afghanistan: five shocking claims made by the Foreign Office whistleblower

Dominic Raab faced the media round from hell this morning. The former Foreign Secretary faced a series of questions about evidence published by a former Foreign Office official over the government’s handling of the Afghanistan crisis. Raphael Marshall – an Oxford graduate with three years in the diplomatic service – worked in the department’s special cases team during the evacuation efforts. In testimony given to the foreign affairs select committee published on Tuesday, Marshall has given an account of the dysfunction and chaos he says dominated the government response. Among the most eye-catching claims: 1. Animals were prioritised over humans During the evacuation, there was a very public row over

How Raab plans to fix the law

How do you solve a problem like Britain’s creaking criminal justice system? To the newly appointed Secretary of State, the answer involves ripping up the Human Rights Act, rolling out more electronic tags for convicts and pumping cash into preventative projects. At a Spectator event this morning, held at Tory Party Conference, Dominic Raab explained that rewriting the UK’s human rights laws was central to his reforming mission. He told editor Fraser Nelson: The Prime Minister was very clear when he appointed me deputy PM and Justice Secretary that he wanted this done… Overhauling the Human Rights Act is not just a good way of dealing with the foreign nationals

What Liz Truss didn’t say

As the big winner of the reshuffle, Liz Truss’s appointment as Foreign Secretary set the cat among the pigeons. Truss is the first Conservative woman to take on the brief and cuts a rather different figure to her predecessor Dominic Raab who was, by comparison, publicity shy. Since her promotion, there has been a non-stop stream of Twitter and Instagram posts documenting her meetings in New York, Mexico and Westminster. Today in Manchester, Truss gave her first speech to a domestic audience on what she wants to achieve. Truss is the first conservative woman to take on the brief and cuts a rather different figure to her predecessor Dominic Raab The former

The ancients knew politicians were powerless

Why are cabinet ministers Liz Truss and Dominic Raab squabbling like children over access to grace-and-favour Chevening? Because they know they are, ultimately, powerless. The Greek statesman Solon (c. 590 bc) made the point long ago: ‘Those who have influence with monarchs are like pebbles used in calculations: for [depending on their place on the board] they can one moment represent a very large number, the next a very small one. So a monarch treats each of his advisers now as important and famous, now as valueless.’ Result: they seek to inflate their self-importance — while they can. No one understood that better than the Stoic philosopher Epictetus (d. ad

Angela Rayner’s PMQs performance wasn’t a triumph

The firecracker and the damp squib stood in at PMQs today. With Boris abroad, the deputies took to the dispatch box. Angela Rayner and Dominic Raab have certain qualities in common. Both are eyeing the leadership of their parties and both are keen to offer a contrast with the present incumbent. The pendulum of popularity tends to swing in predictable directions. The dashing showman is often succeeded by the dead-safe dullard. Major after Thatcher. Brown after Blair. Why not Raab after Boris? And Angela Rayner’s eye-catching flamboyance would be a welcome change from the dreary swattishness of Sir Keir Starmer. Today was all about appearances. Raab will be pleased to

Isabel Hardman

Like Boris but with less aplomb: Raab survives PMQs

Angela Rayner had an enjoyable six rounds against Dominic Raab as their pair deputised for their respective party leaders at Prime Minister’s Questions today. She didn’t lack material, for one thing: the energy crisis, the universal credit cut and of course the deputy Prime Minister’s luxury holiday in Crete all gave Rayner plenty to pummel Raab with. He didn’t respond well. Throughout the row over his badly-timed holiday, Raab showed a tendency to make things worse by trying to quibble over the details. He did so again today: he could quite easily have ignored a throwaway line from Rayner about him reportedly squabbling with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss over who

Raab at sea with his latest defence

Is Dominic Raab’s summer holiday really still an issue as the evacuation of Afghanistan enters its final few hours? According to the Foreign Secretary, it still is. Despite everyone else in Westminster seeming to move on from the fury that accompanied Raab’s decision to stay in Crete as the Taliban swept back to power, the minister still has things to say on the matter and is therefore keeping the story alive. This morning, he was on a broadcast round talking about the evacuation efforts and the reality of there being any protection for Afghans after 31 October. But he was also asked about whether he should have come back from

Raab comes out fighting

Dominic Raab is not budging in his conviction that he did everything he could for Afghanistan while he was on his Cretan holiday. The Foreign Secretary has issued a statement in which he argues that the recommendation from his civil servants to call the Afghan foreign minister was ‘quickly overtaken by events’ and that he passed the call onto a junior minister ‘because I was prioritising security and capacity at the airport’. He then argues that this priority ‘was the right one’ and points out the numbers of people who have been evacuated. ‘They simply do not have a plan. They looked so small compared to the backbenchers like Tom

How much trouble is Dominic Raab in?

When MPs returned to parliament on Wednesday to debate the situation in Afghanistan, it was Joe Biden who received the most criticism during the debate. But a close second in the firing line was the UK Foreign Secretary. After Dominic Raab waited until Sunday night to fly back from his holiday in Crete, opposition MPs were quick to go on the attack. When Raab asked Starmer what he would do differently give the complexity of the situation, the Labour leader replied: ‘I wouldn’t go on holiday when Kabul was falling’. The SNP’s Ian Blackford also joined in – suggesting Raab ought to be ashamed of himself. While that strength of feeling isn’t

The nine worst responses to Afghanistan’s fall

The fall of Afghanistan has provoked much comment and soul-searching on both sides of the Atlantic. Along with the usual talking heads and thumping op-eds, the Taliban’s imminent victory has prompted some truly awful takes from some of the less distinguished figures in public life. Below is Mr Steerpike’s guide to some of the most tone-deaf, stunningly crass and just plain sinister responses to the fall of Afghanistan. Stop the War Coalition and Richard Burgon Straight out the blocks with a statement was the hard left Stop the War Coalition, formerly chaired by one Jeremy Corbyn. The group has claimed the withdrawal from Afghanistan as vindication for its cause and called

Vaccine passports for internal use are ‘under consideration’, says Raab

Only last week, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi assured us that the government is not looking at vaccine passports as they would be discriminatory and un-British. So imagine Mr S’s astonishment when Dominic Raab admitted that they are indeed being considered in Britain – for internal and external use. When asked on LBC whether a domestic vaccine passport – ‘where you have to show a bit of paper to go into a supermarket’ – could be brought in, Raab confirmed: ‘It’s something that hasn’t been ruled out and is under consideration, but of course you’ve got to make it workable.’ The Foreign Secretary continued: ‘You’ve got to know that the document