What does new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab stand for?

Britain is getting used to a new face in the news after Dominic Raab replaced David Davis as Brexit secretary.

Promoted directly from the junior housing brief to one of the major Cabinet roles, Mr Raab’s rise since becoming an MP in 2010 has been impressive.

But what does he stand for?

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There are already stories about his opinions on the “bigotry” of feminism and more.

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He hasn’t been shy of the press, especially in his early days on the backbenches.

So here, we round up a selection of his opinions, in his own words.


Pret chicken caesar baguette

“I don’t recall ever asking my diary secretary to get me lunch, but the reality is I do love a good chicken caesar baguette from Pret.”

Amid revelations Mr Raab’s diary secretary had been active on a “sugar daddy” social network, it emerged she claimed she bought him the same lunch every day from Pret. He denied this, but appeared to basically confirm the “same lunch” part of the story at the same time.

“I have been tempted by the spicy Italian … I just worry about getting it all over my tie,” he told the Times. That’s why I haven’t been quite brave enough yet.”


“At heart, it’s also a choice between optimism and pessimism. The Remain camp have spent four months telling us Britain won’t amount to much, standing on our own two feet. The Leave campaign is the side with the ambition for Britain and the belief in the British people.”

In his former life as a spad, Mr Raab was senior on the staff of both (now former Brexit secretary) David Davis and (“chief Tory mutineer”/arch Remainer) Dominic Grieve, but he has always been clear about which side of the fence he stood on personally. In an article for the Daily Telegraph on the eve of the campaign, he made the case for Leave.

Troops teaching kids

“The 2011 riots demonstrated the need to do more to instil moral checks and personal responsibility. The US Troops to Teachers scheme shows how youngsters in violent inner-city schools respond to the discipline, ethos and pastoral care that military role models can provide.”

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Mr Raab wrote a pamphlet called “Unleashing the British Underdog” for the think tank Centre for Policy Studies, outlining his vision for helping the “little guy”. It sums up a good deal of his thought. He also think it’s snobbery to assume you need to go to university, wants non-graduates to be able to become professionals and thinks new businesses need tax breaks.

Overthrown Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi

“For all his flaws, Morsi had a mandate, wanted to prise away the military grip over government and helped broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas last year. For all the fears of theocratic revolution under the new constitution, Morsi had done little to expand sharia in practice.”

Morsi won the election that followed from the downfall of Mubarak and Mr Raab thought he deserved support in 2013. “As emerging nations reduce its economic leverage, there is a window of opportunity to nurture democratic seeds in inhospitable lands before the balance of power decisively tilts away,” he said. Field Marshall Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seized power in a coup soon after, rounded up opponents and continues as President today.

Animal metaphors

“The British fox hankers for an adaptable relationship, offering maximum flexibility. But it has been rebuffed by the continental hedgehog … with its single defence mechanism, rolling into a ball, the hedgehog believes in one big thing, one all-encompassing truth.”

Mr Raab’s lengthy pre-Brexit referendum speech in March 2016 may have been stretching the metaphor slightly. It didn’t stop him keeping it up for half an hour.


Feminists, those obnoxious bigots

“While we have some of the toughest anti-discrimination laws in the world, we are blind to some of the most flagrant discrimination –— against men.”

In 2011, Mr Raab blasted his way into public consciousness when he claimed that men are being discriminated against in an article for Politics Home. Calling feminists “obnoxious bigots”, he was even slapped down by then home secretary Theresa May, but he stood his ground. “Many couples are fed up of men and women being pitted against each other in an outdated battle of the sexes —– we need consistent standards of equality,” he told the Evening Standard.

Keeping Foreign Office work experience spaces for people who not white, male and wealthy

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“We surely need to scale back the unfair political correctness of the last Government. But we will not end discrimination in our society by introducing it through the back door, which is what positive discrimination like this does.”

As a rookie MP in 2010, Mr Raab complained on behalf of a constituent, who had complained to him, about a scheme that encouraged women, men that qualify for the maintenance grant, minority communities and the disabled to apply for work experience, not jobs, at the Foreign Office.

Receiving emails

“These emails from your and other lobby groups are becoming a real nuisance. I am easily contactable by constituents, who can write to me at the House of Commons, and readily accessible via surgeries and other public meetings.”

Before becoming an MP in 2010, Mr Raab made the basic error of giving out his personal email publicly, so when he did get into the Commons website, people kept emailing it instead of the official one that’s visible on the Parliament website. Those people included campaign groups such as 38 Degrees, which annoyed Mr Raab.

Food bank cash flow management

“Look, in terms of the food bank issue, I’ve studied the Trussell Trust data. What they tend to find is the typical user of a food bank is not someone who’s languishing in poverty, it’s someone who has a cash flow problem episodically.”

In another moment considered foot-in-mouth by the liberal part of the media, Mr Raab told Victoria Derbyshire of his interpretation of food bank stats. Tim Farron wasn’t happy. “Dominic Raab is woefully out of touch and has no idea how much real people are struggling,” he said.

Curbing civil liberties to stop terrorism

“We should be using intercept to prosecute terrorists, not using Orwellian surveillance on every innocent citizen. It is time to draw a line in the sand. Sacrificing British liberties will not protect us. It just plays into the hands of the terrorists.”

Like a number of other Conservatives with a small-L libertarian streak (David Davis, for example), Mr Raab has historically been uncomfortable with the expansion of mass surveillance and the security state, even when it’s presented as necessary to stop the likes of Isis. In 2010, he wrote “Fight Terror, Defend Freedom” for Big Brother Watch, and wrote about it for the Telegraph.