Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has forked out for his own legal team to defend himself against allegations he bullied officials, the much-delayed register of ministerial interests shows.
The declaration published on Wednesday came despite the taxpayer footing an estimated £222,000 bill for Boris Johnson’s legal fees in the inquiry into whether he lied to MPs over partygate.
In the long-awaited register, Mr Raab’s entry notes read: “The minister has engaged lawyers at his own expense in relation to the investigation being conducted by Adam Tolley KC.”
It is not clear why Mr Raab paid for his own legal team when Mr Johnson – whose outside earnings since leaving office have made him the highest-paid MP over the past 12 months – received Government support.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman indicated that Mr Johnson received taxpayer-funded lawyers because he is defending allegations relating to Government business, drawing a distinction to getting funding for legal challenges over allegations about a minister’s behaviour.
Mr Raab is under investigation over eight formal complaints about his behaviour as foreign secretary, Brexit secretary and during his first stint as justice secretary.
The process is expected to draw to a close shortly, with some reports that it may only be a matter of days before Mr Tolley’s report is with the Prime Minister.
At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer mocked Mr Raab over the matter as he attacked the Government’s record on tackling crime.
“I know the Justice Secretary has been been busy trying to save his own job rather than actually doing it, but has the Prime Minister asked him when he is going to get a grip on the prison system?”