An investigation into allegations of bullying against deputy prime minister Dominic Raab will now look at five further complaints about his conduct, Downing Street has said.
The fresh allegations relate to his previous stint at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and bring the total number of complaints against him to eight.
The prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “I can confirm that the prime minister has now asked the investigator to include five further formal complaints relating to conduct at the Ministry of Justice as part of the ongoing investigation and in line with the existing terms of reference.”
Raab is already subject to three existing complaints relating to the period when he was working at the Foreign Office, the MoJ, and the Brexit department.
Raab has been accused of creating a “culture of fear” in the MoJ during his previous time in the department.
The Guardian reported that staff upset by his behavior were offered a “route out” of his department when he was reinstated to the role by Rishi Sunak in October.
Following the slew of allegations, the government appointed senior lawyer Adam Tolley KC to look into accusations about Raab’s behavior.
Tolley initially was examining two accusations about Raab’s conduct when he was foreign secretary and during his previous tenure as justice secretary, but the allegations now span three government departments.
Raab has said he always adhered to the ministerial code and “behaved professionally”.
He told the BBC in November: “I’ve behaved professionally at all times and I’m the one that when the complaint came in a matter of days ago, the first that has come against me since I’ve been a minister since 2015, called for an independent inquiry and I look forward to dealing with it fully and transparently rather than dealing with anonymous comments in the media.
“I always adhere to the ministerial code, including my use of my iPhone.
“I’ve always taken advice on the right means, particularly as foreign secretary and dealing with a whole range of sensitive issues, always been very careful to protect the integrity of any communications I have.”
Asked whether Raab could stay in post when there have been eight allegations filed against him, the spokesman said: “We think it’s right that there is an independent process.
“The investigator looks into these claims thoroughly before coming to a view.”
Sunak’s spokesman would not put a timescale on when the investigation will be concluded, but said it is hoped to be finished “swiftly”.
Sunak reappointed Raab as justice secretary in October, the position he served under johnson for a year until September.
Labour suggested Raab should be suspended while under investigation.
Deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “It is yet another sign of how weak Rishi Sunak is as a prime minister that despite being aware of Dominic Raab’s reputation, he appointed him as his deputy.
“The prime minister must now say why he has not been suspended until the outcome of the formal investigation, and make clear that any breach of the ministerial code will result in his immediate sacking. The government must also take immediate steps to ensure there is a safe working environment for their staff.”