Raab resignation raises questions for Chard
Today the Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab resigned. After allegations of bullying, a report was commissioned to look into Raab’s behaviour. Today it was published. Among the conclusions were that Raab’s “interruptive style” combined with “unconstructive critical feedback is likely to have been experienced as intimidating. in the sense of being unreasonably difficult to deal with”.
Regular readers of this site will be aware of the similarity with the situation in Chard. Here too a report was also commissioned to look into allegations of bullying. The report by Chris Rolley identified three main perpetrators. The behaviour identified has very distinct echoes of the report into Dominic Raab.
The thoroughness of Chris Rolleys report is noteworthy. In Westminster 66 intevriews were conducted by the report’s author Adam Tolley KC. For little old Chard, Mr Rolley still managed to conduct 35 interviews which seems appropriately thorough.
Both reports identified critical behaviour by perpetrators. Mr Rolley noted perpetrators “interfering in matters beyond their remit, resulting in conflict and bad feeling.” Something that seems remarkably similar to criticisms of Mr Raab. The environment in Chard is described as “toxic” the same word having been used to describe the Foreign Office during Raab’s tenure.
Where there were differences is in the level of record keeping. At Chard most exit interviews either had not happened or no record of them made. The only two that were recorded and kept, were entirely benign. Which may or may not be coincidental.
Raab had undertaken to resign if the report found against him. Today he has done so. In Chard in stark contrast, the perpetrators have to date steadfastly refused to resign.
Mr Rolley knows, we know, exactly who they are. All three are LibDem councillors.
However unlike the case with Dominic Raab, the Rolley report is not the first into bullying at Chard, it is the third. The two previous reports have been characterised by a lack of action following the report. Perpetrators refused to resign. Denied they had done anything wrong. So we are now at report number three.
It is clear that in Chard, there will be fourth and fifth reports into bullying if resignations are not forthcoming. And attention is now on the LibDems. They have legitimate political aspirations in Somerset.
However if they fail to act, to show that bullying is not welcome in their party, it will leave awkward questions. For all of Raab’s failings when it came to the crunch, the Conservative administration has dealt with the problem.
Will the LibDem leadership in Somerset now demonstrate that they are up to the job?