ormer Tory Party chairman Sir Jake Berry has called for Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab to be suspended while he is investigated over claims he bullied officials.
Sir Jake said it would be normal practice in the private sector for someone facing such allegations to be stand aside while the matter was dealt with.
“The way these sort of complaints would be dealt with in the private sector is you would be suspended while they were investigated,” he said in an interview BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster.
“It would be very bizarre if you had someone in any other workplace who wasn’t suspended pending that investigation.
“MPs and ministers are not some form of special human being, I think they should just be treated like anyone else is in their workplace.”
Sir Jake’s intervention will increase the pressure on Mr Raab, who is also the Justice Secretary, who is facing a series of complaints of bullying and abusive behaviour said to involve dozens of civil servants who worked with him.
The FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, has already called for his suspension while the lawyer Adam Tolley KC completes his inquiry into the allegations.
Labour has accused Rishi Sunak of being too weak to move against his deputy who was one of his strongest supporters in the battle for the Tory leadership after the resignation of Boris Johnson.
Sir Jake suggested that the rules for ministers should be re-written to create a formal mechanism whereby they would be suspended during an investigation, and then reinstated if they were cleared.
“We have a system in Parliament that you’re either in a job or you’re not in a job,” he said.
“I think that would be a big help to the Prime Minister if he had that additional tool in his box.
“It requires a bit of updating of the ministerial code and I think the public would welcome it.”