A third complaint against Dominic Raab is being investigated by the No10-ordered inquiry, deepening the crisis surrounding the Deputy Prime Minister.
The probe into Rishi Sunak’s key ally has already looked at his behavior as Justice Secretary and Cabinet Minister – but his time as Brexit Secretary is now also being put under scrutiny.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the third complaint was received two days ago, adding: “The Prime Minister has asked for this to be looked into.”
A senior solicitor, Adam Tolley, was appointed this week to investigate whether Mr Raab was guilty of bullying or other unacceptable conduct in his previous roles.
It was always possible that the investigation was widened amid a blizzard of further allegations from senior officials in several government departments.
BBC Newsnight reported this week that the deputy prime minister’s former private secretaries, who were in charge of his day-to-day affairs, were preparing to lodge formal complaints.
Mr Sunak – who is keen to avoid losing a second minister to allegations of bullying following the departure of Gavin Williamson – has continued to express “full confidence” in Mr Raab.
But No. 10 said the third formal complaint was received by the Cabinet Office on Nov. 23, leading to a broadening of the scope of the inquiry.
“The Prime Minister has now asked the investigator to add a further formal complaint regarding the conduct of the Department for Withdrawal from the European Union and to investigate the matter in accordance with the existing mandate,” the spokeswoman said.
Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA’s civil servants’ union, has described the allegations against Mr. Raab as “extraordinary circumstances”.
“We have never seen a situation where so many officials seem to be complaining about the behavior of a minister,” he said.
“There are a number of allegations which appear to have come across a number of departments where Dominic Raab worked. Everyone has to be approved by the Prime Minister for the investigation.”
The deputy prime minister who requested the Tolley inquiry has denied and told of any wrongdoing Sky news on Thursday: “I behaved professionally at all times.
“I’m the one who, when the complaint was received a few days ago – the first ever against me since I’ve been Minister since 2015 – called for an independent inquiry.
“I look forward to dealing with this fully and transparently rather than dealing with anonymous comments in the media.”
Mr Raab also denied that he broke Ministerial Code by reportedly using his private phone for official communications.
“I have always followed Ministerial Code, including using my iPhone,” he said, adding that he was “always careful to protect the integrity of any communication.”