The long-awaited report into bullying allegations made against Dominic Raab has been received by the Prime Minister.
But uncertainty remains over when the review will be made publicly available and what action – if any – Rishi Sunak will decide to take over the Deputy Prime Minister on the strength of its findings.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the questions surrounding the report and what might happen next.
– What is the report?
Adam Tolley KC, a senior employment lawyer, was appointed in November to investigate a number of allegations made against Mr Raab by civil servants who worked in his departments.
Dozens of officials are thought to be involved in eight formal complaints relating to bullying.
Mr Tolley has taken a thorough approach to examining the allegations, questioning the Deputy Prime Minister multiple times among other interviewees as well as taking written evidence.
Senior civil servants in the three Government departments headed by Mr Raab – Antonia Romeo, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Simon McDonald, a former permanent undersecretary at the Foreign Office, and Philip Rycroft, a former permanent secretary at the now-defunct Department for Exiting the European Union – are also understood to have spoken to the inquiry.
– How has Dominic Raab responded to the complaints?
The Deputy Prime Minister has denied the allegations but pledged to resign if he is found to have bullied officials.
He has insisted he believes “heart and soul” that he is not a bully, but defended his “forthright” approach to his work.
– How is the Prime Minister likely to respond?
Downing Street has refused to be drawn on whether the Prime Minister would sanction or sack Mr Raab if the findings of the report are damning.
Last month, Mr Sunak evaded questions about his response to the inquiry’s findings, saying he will not “pre-empt” a process which has not been completed.
After it was received by No 10 on Thursday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson indicated he maintained “full confidence” in his deputy but that he was “carefully considering” the report’s conclusions.
– What will the report’s wider effect be on the Prime Minister and the Government?
If the conclusions are damning, Mr Sunak will be under growing pressure to take appropriate action against his deputy.
Mr Sunak is the ultimate arbiter on issues around ministerial conduct and the final decision on his Mr Raab will rest with him.
He will also be under renewed scrutiny over his decision reappoint Mr Raab to the cabinet.
Downing Street has said Mr Sunak did not know about any “formal” complaints before forming his first cabinet in October, but has not said whether he was aware of any other concerns.
Mr Raab’s allies have defended him throughout the inquiry but backbencher Sir Jake Berry, who served in the cabinets of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Theresa May, suggested it was “wrong” for Mr Raab to be allowed to continue in his job while under investigation.
– When will the report be published?
Downing Street would not indicate when the report will be published but insisted a resolution will be sought “as swiftly as possible”.
It had previously been suggested that the review could be released shortly after the Prime Minister receives it.
Published: by Radio NewsHub