Absolutely Raabulous: Dominic Raab’s 8 worst bits

Today, belatedly, we bid a not-so-fond farewell to Dominic Raab. After eight ministerial titles, five months under investigation, and dozens of formal complaints of bullying, the Deputy PM/Whitehall sensei has bowed out. For those counting, that’s Sunak’s third ministerial departure in his first 178 days (3.6 Liz Trusses) and the second accused of bullying.

With the Cabinet’s self-styled muscle retreating to the backbenches, we at B4B thought it was the perfect time to take a stroll down memory lane and recount some of the highlights (and more of the lowlights) of Raab’s misadventures in Government–not including the abuse he’s just been sacked for. Check the papers for that.

1. The Brexit Minister who hadn't read the Good Friday Agreement

Let’s start by looking back on just how little the *former Brexit Secretary* Dominic Raab understood about the Northern Ireland peace deal, before deciding to undermine it. Early in 2019, between stints as Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary and under pressure from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Raab admitted that he had never read the Good Friday Agreement. 

For context: the Good Friday Agreement is 35 pages long. 

To be fair, Raab is right, it’s not a “cracking read.” Still, we’d hoped he'd power through it to ensure a smooth transition for the UK out of the EU and avoid collapsing Northern Ireland’s power sharing institutions…. oh


2. The sea is closed

Not even a Greek holiday–or the imminent collapse of an allied government–can stop Raab from leading his active lifestyle.

In August 2021, as the Taliban closed in on Kabul, the then-Foreign Secretary declined to cut short his Aegean adventures and return to the UK to help lead the evacuation of Afghans who’d helped British soldiers there.

Rubbishing stories that he’d been paddleboarding, Raab claimed “the sea was closed” on the day in question. Later reports further suggested Raab’s behaviour with staff caused delays in evacuations.


3. Sleazyjet

That last entry is made worse when you consider that Raab usually doesn't need to deal with airlines when his travel plans change last minute. He has a widely-publicised affinity for flying private.

In two separate posts, Raab has made a habit of globetrotting in a private jet at the taxpayer’s expense: in one nine-month period as Foreign Secretary, he racked up over £1m in fees on trips to Gibraltar, Cyprus, Israel, and further afield.

He hasn’t kicked the habit quite yet: last year, an hour-long trip to The Hague (served by 11-13 daily flights from City Airport alone) cost the public purse over £23k


4. What a winker!

Last June, Raab made toes curl nationwide when he and Angela Rayner deputised for their respective bosses at PMQs.

As Rayner took him to task over the Conservatives pushing millions into poverty, Raab retorted with the Tory handbook of militant unions and champagne socialism and threw in a jab suggesting working-class people couldn’t appreciate classical music for good measure.

To everyone’s horror, Raab then thought it appropriate to wink. Sadly, the gravitational cringe force generated was not strong enough to suck Mars into Earth and end our suffering.


5. Dover? I hardly know her!

During all those private flights, Raab must have been too busy with the free champagne to look out the window, because, as Brexit Secretary, he admitted that he “hadn’t quite understood the full extent” of the importance of Dover-Calais trade to the UK economy. You know, the closest geographical point on our island nation to our biggest trade partners? The one so vital that we spent £21bn building a 50km tunnel there? We’ll give him a hint: Dover is the place where, three years on from Brexit, you’ll find semi-regular 30 km-long traffic jams.


6. Foodbank faux pas

Kitchen-sink issues like the cost of living are admittedly not Raab’s strong suit, as evidenced by his hiccup in 2017 when he suggested that people using food banks to feed their families had a “cash-flow problem.”

In a typical Tory attempt to shift the blame for their entrenchment of poverty for millions, Raab chalked the hundredfold rise of food bank users under the Tories to benefits delays.

Maybe he and Lee Anderson can team up for a regular column on Home Economics


7. No funny title, this one’s grim

Arguably Raab’s most egregious moment came back in 2017, when, in front of a live TV audience, he called a disability activist’s plea to stop health and social care cuts a “childish wishlist.”

After being told that disabled people are committing suicide after being force to jump grueling bureaucratic hurdles to access benefits, Raab argued that what they really need is a strong economy and, we assume, handsome financier bonuses, before the most vulnerable can get a crumb.


8. Misogyny against men

On his Greek holidays, Raab apparently never did much studying on the local tongue, because in October 2021, he got his etymology a bit mixed up in an interview about the murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer.

According to the Justice Secretary, “misogyny is absolutely wrong, whether it’s a man against a woman or a woman against a man”. Undeterred by his misunderstanding of the word, in the same interview, Raab confidently declared that misogynistic murders should not be charged as hate crimes.

He was probably confused–according to his (wrong) definition, all murders would be misogynistic.

We couldn’t include them all, but these are our highlights. If there’s any you think we’ve unfairly omitted, please do send them to [email protected] along with exactly how this display of ignorance, apathy and/or inappropriate behaviour made you feel. He should have a lot more time to catch up on correspondence.