New Brexit Secretary a committed campaigner for EU withdrawal
Dominic Raab is a Tory star whose rise stalled briefly after Theresa May’s arrival in office.
Dominic Raab is one of the staunchest Brexiteers on the Conservative benches, calling for EU withdrawal long before the referendum.
After seeing his budding ministerial career apparently stalled when Theresa May became Prime Minister office and decided not to offer him a job, he has now been catapulted into one of the most crucial roles in her Cabinet team.
A lawyer by training, and a black belt in karate, the fiercely ambitious 44-year-old looked set for a swift rise up the ministerial ranks after his election as MP for Tory safe seat Esher and Walton in 2010.
But a series of controversies held back his elevation, with Mrs May taking particular offence at his description of some feminists as “obnoxious bigots” in a 2011 online article in which he attacked the “equality bandwagon” and said that men were getting “a raw deal”.
Mrs May, who was then minister for equalities as well as home secretary, responded within days with a fierce slapdown in the House of Commons, telling him that his comment was “not the way forward (to) get away from gender warfare”.
In 2012, Mr Raab joined other Tory rising stars in putting his name to a manifesto called Britannia Unchained, which raised eyebrows by branding the British “among the worst idlers in the world”.
He was appointed civil liberties minister in the Ministry of Justice following David Cameron’s election victory in 2015.
In 2017, he was branded “offensive” by then Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron after telling a radio interviewer that “the typical user of a food bank is not someone that’s languishing in poverty, it’s someone who has a cash flow problem”.
After a prominent role in the Leave campaign in the 2016 EU referendum, there was initially no place in Mrs May’s administration for Mr Raab, who was sacked from ministerial office on her arrival in power that year.
Once out of office, he was a co-founder of the Change Britain campaign group which kept the Leave banner flying in the years since the referendum.
He proved a loyal pro-Brexit outrider on the backbenches and was rewarded with a more senior role in the Ministry of Justice following last year’s general election, and moved to the crucial job of housing minister in January.
Downing Street said his appointment to an area which the PM had made a personal priority showed the “high regard” in which she held him.
The son of a Czech-born Jewish refugee who fled the Nazis in 1938, Mr Raab was brought up in Buckinghamshire and took a law degree at Oxford University before switching to Cambridge for his Master’s.
He worked as a lawyer at the Foreign Office before entering the world of politics in 2006 as an aide first to David Davis – the man he is now replacing – and then Dominic Grieve – the Remain-backing Tory MP who is now likely to be a thorn in his side from the backbenches.