Eight people working in Dominic Raab’s private office during his tenure as foreign secretary claimed to have been bullied or harassed at work, according to a leaked survey.
The poll, carried out in the latter part of 2019, also showed that 15 staff reported witnessing another person being bullied or treated unfairly.
The results, published by ITV News, were anonymous, meaning it is not possible to ascertain the subject of the claims.
The findings emerged as Raab, now the Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, has been accused of acting in a “rude” and “aggressive” manner towards civil servants, prompting fresh questions from opposition leaders over Rishi Sunak’s judgment in choosing his top team.
Multiple sources have alleged the Cabinet minister created a “culture of fear” during his previous stint in the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), according to The Guardian.
But some Tories have come to his defence, with Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald, saying she witnessed a “very decent” minister with “high professional standards” when the pair came into contact during Raab’s time as foreign secretary.
Fellow Conservative MP Eddie Hughes said he had never seen Raab be rude to anyone when he worked in the housing and Brexit departments.
ITV News said 40% of those surveyed in Raab’s private office reported personal experience of bullying or harassment.
But the broadcaster pointed out that only 20 people were asked the question due to the small scale of the team, and seven did not respond.
Raab’s conduct has come under scrutiny in recent days, with The Mirror reporting the Justice Secretary has acquired the nickname “The Incinerator” because he “burns through” staff.
The Sun suggested Raab once hurled tomatoes from a salad across a room in a fit of anger – an allegation branded “rotten” by shadow minister David Lammy.
A spokesman Raab said the salad claim was “nonsense”.
One source alleged the Cabinet Office had been informed of concerns over Raab’s behaviour when he was Brexit secretary, according to ITV News.
On Saturday, The Observer reported that the correspondence took the form of a document alleging “unprofessional, even bullying, conduct of the minister towards his private office”.
The “formal expression of concern” was said to have been sent by a senior official in the Brexit department.
But the Cabinet Office said it had “no record of any formal complaints”.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have called for an investigation into the claims raised by The Guardian.
Insiders have insisted the Justice Secretary does not engage in bullying of any kind, acknowledging he is “direct” but rates his team highly.
They denied any suggestion he does not behave in a professional manner, adding they do not recognise the “Incinerator” nickname or the idea there has been a high turnover of staff working with him.
The allegations could prove troublesome for Sunak, whose choice of Cabinet colleagues has already been called into question.
The Prime Minister came under fire for reappointing Sir Gavin Williamson to his senior team despite being told he was under investigation for allegedly bullying former chief whip Wendy Morton.
Sunak also faced criticism for reinstating Suella Braverman as Home Secretary six days after she was forced to quit over a security breach.
A spokesman for Raab said: “Dominic has high standards, works hard, and expects a lot from his team as well as himself.
“He has worked well with officials to drive the Government’s agenda across Whitehall in multiple Government departments and always acts with the utmost professionalism.”
It is understood no formal complaints have been made against him.
The Foreign Office said it would not comment on leaked internal personnel or HR processes.
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