Raab shakes his head after Starmer accuses him of bullying in PMQs

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Rishi Sunak was not the only target of Keir Starmer’s searing assault in PMQs today as the opposition leader also took aim at Dominic Raab in his accusations of misconduct and bullying in the Conservative Party. 

However, the deputy PM merely shook his head in response in an effort to shrug off the line of questioning as the Prime Minister defended him. 

Mr Sunak responded by asking Mr Starmer if he cares so much about ministerial conduct, what did he do about Labour MP Rosie Duffield’s claims that she was ostracised by her party.

The two clashed after chair of the Tory party Nadhim Zahawi was sacked following a scandal about his tax affairs.

Mr Starmer began his questioning following Mr Zahawi’s scandalous resignation by saying Mr Sunak’s comments on the row had “raised more questions than answers.”

Defending his appointment of Mr Zahawi, the PM said “no issues were raised with me” when he was assigned the role of party chair – to which Mr Starmer responded that the Prime Minister’s “defence is nobody told me, I didn’t know, I didn’t ask any questions”.

He asked: “Is the Prime Minister now also going to claim that he is the only person completely unaware of serious allegations of bullying against the Deputy Prime Minister before he appointed him?”

Mr Sunak shot back to defend Mr Raab: “If he so concerned about what people are saying and so concerned about behaviour in public life, then recently one of his own MPs was forced to speak out because being in his party because being in his party had reminded her of being in an abusive relationship and then his own office was caught undermining her.

“He ought to be supporting her and her colleagues but if he can’t be trusted to stand up for the women in his party, he can’t be trusted to stand up for Britain.”

However, the Labour leader did not let the point go, highlighting that “at the last count the Deputy Prime Minister was facing 24 separate allegations of bullying.”

He added: “According to recent reports, some of the complainants were physically sick. One says they were left suicidal. How would he feel if one of his friends or relatives was being forced to work for a bully simply because the man at the top was too weak to do anything about it?”

Sitting behind the Prime Minister, Mr Raab could be seen shaking his head and waving his hand to brush off the criticism. 

The PM said: “When I was made aware of formal complaints I instructed a leading independent KC to conduct an investigation because I take action when these things happen.”

Mr Sunak argued Sir Keir was guilty of “declining to lead, sitting on the fence, carping from the sidelines and never standing up for a principle that matters”.

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