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Should Dominic Raab resign?

Mike McCartney

25th November 2022

Another ministerial responsibility talking point

Let's look at the constitutional aspect first, and a bit of background on what individual ministerial entails (IMR).

  • A feature of parliamentary government is that the executive is drawn from the legislature and according to the constitution is directly answerable to it. The ministerial 'highway code' is laid out in the ministerial code of conduct, which is issued to all ministers.
  • A personal mistake is by far the most common reason for ministers to resign, but some ministers weather the media storm better than others. In the 1990s it seemed like the Tories had set up a ministerial resignation production line (Mellor, Mates, Yeo, Brown, Hughes, Aitken), but after New Labour took office it quickly became apparent that being whiter than white was a promise that would be difficult to fulfil. In 1998 the Welsh Secretary, Ron Davies, resigned after a ‘moment of madness’ on Clapham Common. Under the Con-Lib coalition, Treasury Minister David Laws was first to fall on his sword following revelations about claiming housing expenses while sharing a house with his male partner.
  • It is very rare for a minister to resign as a result of an error of policy or administration, but we can point to the resignation of Estelle Morris over the A levels fiasco in 2002 as an example. But one that has hardly set a precedent.

It is far more likely that ministers will cling on to jobs, until the level of sustained media pressure is such that it is untenable for the Prime Minister to provide their backing. So, the principle of IMR can be seen as something of a constitutional fiction. IMR is described as a 'convention' in textbooks, but surely a convention, by a dictionary definition, is something that most people expect to happen. So is IMR still a convention, or something that used by a convention and needs to be relabelled?

So with regards to Raab, this is what the Guardian say:

"Dominic Raab is facing multiple formal complaints from Ministry of Justice (MoJ) civil servants over allegations of bullying behaviour during his previous stint running the department, the Guardian has been told.

The justice secretary has vowed to “thoroughly rebut and refute” the two official complaints he is already facing, one from the MoJ and one from his time as foreign secretary, but further formal allegations will be a blow to his attempts to clear his name."

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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