Tories forced to pay £20k to re­searcher for ‘Burn Your Briefs’ MP

Pay­out for woman who claimed work­place bul­ly­ing un­der Do­minic Raab

The Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Simon Wal­ters and Glen Owen

A WOMAN who worked for the MP who said men should ‘burn their briefs’ to high­light dis­crim­i­na­tion against them was given a se­cret £20,000 pay­off by the Tories to drop claims that she was bul­lied.

The pay­ment to Alivia Kratke came to light af­ter Con­ser­va­tive MP Do­minic Raab was pub­licly rapped by Home Sec­re­tary Theresa May, who told him de­nounc­ing ‘ob­nox­ious’ fem­i­nists was not the way to tackle sex­ism in the work­place.

But The Mail on Sun­day can now dis­close that Mr Raab was in an ac­ri­mo­nious row over sex­ism in the work­place him­self when he was chief of staff to for­mer Shadow Home Sec­re­tary David Davis.

Ac­cord­ing to one claim, Mr Raab oc­ca­sion­ally made com­ments on the num­ber of times women went to the lava­tory. Oth­ers say he was ‘dif­fi­cult’ to work for.

High-fly­ing Mr Raab, who en­tered the Com­mons at the last Elec­tion, and has al­ready been tipped as a po­ten­tial fu­ture Cabi­net Min­is­ter, last night said: ‘This is a smear and any in­sin­u­a­tion that I have be­haved im­prop­erly is false and ma­li­cious.’

Ms Kratke left Mr Davis’s of­fice in 2007 af­ter spend­ing 20 months as a par­lia­men­tary re­searcher. In late 2007 she is un­der­stood to have won £20,000 in an out-of-court set­tle­ment af­ter she lodged an em­ploy­ment tri­bunal claim over her treat­ment in the of­fice dur­ing Mr Raab’s time in charge. If the case had gone ahead her claims would have been aired in pub­lic, which could have gravely em­bar­rassed the Tories.

Un­der the terms of the set­tle­ment, Ms Kratke is banned from speak­ing about the mat­ter. But a friend said she suf­fered from ‘emo­tional bul­ly­ing’ when she worked at the Com­mons and was left ‘trau­ma­tised’ by the ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘Do­minic would set im­pos­si­ble tar­gets for peo­ple to meet,’ said one

‘He was bad at deal­ing with women in the of­fice’

source. ‘He was very bad at deal­ing with women in his of­fice. He would make com­ments if you went to the loo too of­ten. He was in­cred­i­bly rigid and al­ways on at Alivia. It be­came a very un­happy of­fice.

‘Ev­ery­one adored work­ing for David [Davis]. He is a hard taskmas­ter but he com­manded huge af­fec­tion and re­spect. It all changed when Do­minic ar­rived.’ An­other source said: ‘Alivia said that the ex­pe­ri­ence at West­min­ster had made her feel worth­less. She re­garded David as a work­ing-class role model. Like him, she was born into hum­ble sur­round­ings but made a suc­cess of her­self. But Do­minic was very crit­i­cal.’

State-ed­u­cated Ms Kratke, 27, the daugh­ter of a Pol­ish im­mi­grant, was born in the sea­side town of Clac­ton, Es­sex. Ac­cord­ing to a CV posted on the in­ter­net, she at­tended Colch­ester Royal Gram­mar School, one of the best state schools in Bri­tain, ‘played the oboe, pi­ano, sang and com­peted in the Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional De­bat­ing com­pe­ti­tion’. The CV says a high­light was au­di­tion­ing for a role as an urchin in the West End mu­si­cal Oliver!

Af­ter achiev­ing five A-lev­els at grade A, she stud­ied law at St Catharine’s Col­lege, Cam­bridge, where she was pres­i­dent of the uni­ver­sity In­ner Tem­ple So­ci­ety for lawyers. She went on to study for a masters de­gree in law at Uni­ver­sity Col­lege London.

She en­joyed a brief spell as a pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant on Chan­nel 4’s The Fri­day Night Project with co­me­di­ans Justin Lee Collins and Alan Carr, and the Chan­nel 5 day­time show The Wright Stuff with Matthew Wright, be­fore switch­ing to pol­i­tics. Af­ter leav­ing Mr Davis’s of­fice, she qual­i­fied as a so­lic­i­tor last Septem­ber and now works as a tax lawyer for top City ac­coun­tants, Deloitte. Her CV says her am­bi­tion is to be­come a char­tered tax ad­viser.

The CV says work­ing for Mr Davis was ‘one of the most en­joy­able and mem­o­rable pe­ri­ods of my life’ – but Mr Raab is not men­tioned. Mr Raab, 36, who is half-Czech and has a black belt in karate, holds law de­grees from Ox­ford and Cam­bridge.

Af­ter train­ing as a busi­ness lawyer at Lin­klaters so­lic­i­tors, he joined the For­eign Of­fice as a diplo­mat, and led the le­gal team at the Bri­tish Em­bassy in The Hague re­spon­si­ble for bring­ing war crim­i­nals to jus­tice. It is a sub­ject close to his heart: his fa­ther was a Jewish refugee who came to the UK in 1938 to es­cape the Nazis.

Mr Raab worked as Mr Davis’s chief of staff from 2006 to 2008. He went on to per­form the same role for Tory MP Do­minic Grieve and won the Sur­rey con­stituency of Esher and Wal­ton with a huge ma­jor­ity of 18,593 at the last Elec­tion.

In his con­tro­ver­sial call for men to em­u­late fem­i­nist bra burn­ers, Mr Raab, who is mar­ried to Brazil­ian mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive Erika, said Bri­tain had some of the tough­est anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws in the world, but was ‘blind to some of the most fla­grant dis­crim­i­na­tion – against men’.

He went on: ‘From the cra­dle to the grave, men are get­ting a raw deal. Men work longer hours, die ear­lier, but re­tire later than women. It’s time men burned their briefs, to put to an end once and for all to what Em­me­line Pankhurst called “’the dou­ble stan­dard of sex morals”.

‘You can’t have it both ways – ei­ther you be­lieve in equal­ity or you don’t. One rea­son women are left “hold­ing the baby” is anti-male dis­crim­i­na­tion in rights of ma­ter­nity/pa­ter­nity leave.

‘One com­men­ta­tor com­plained that, “High-fly­ing women are pro­grammed to go for high-fly­ing men. Most men aren’t at­tracted to women who are more suc­cess­ful than they

He claimed fem­i­nists were ‘ob­nox­ious big­ots’

are.” Can you imag­ine the ou­trage if such trite gen­er­al­i­sa­tions were made about women, or other mi­nori­ties?

‘Take the gen­der pay gap. The fas­ci­nat­ing thing is just how sex­ist its cham­pi­ons have be­come. It is al­most taboo for a man to ques­tion the as­ser­tion that the rapidly dwin­dling pay gap is the re­sult of dis­crim­i­na­tion, rather than gen­uine choice.

‘Fem­i­nists are now amongst the most ob­nox­ious big­ots.’

Mr Raab won sup­port from some male Tory col­leagues. But he got short shrift from Mrs May, who is also Min­is­ter for Women and Equal­i­ties, when he re­peated his ar­gu­ment in the Com­mons on Thurs­day, ask­ing a ques­tion about pa­ter­nity leave to ‘elim­i­nate anti-male dis­crim­i­na­tion at the work­place’.

Mrs May replied sharply: ‘We should be try­ing to get away from gen­der war­fare of equal­ity. La­belling fem­i­nists as ob­nox­ious big­ots is not the way for­ward to do that.’ Mr Raab was clearly taken aback by the re­buff and slumped in his seat, be­fore try­ing to laugh it off with col­leagues.

SI­LENCED: Al­vivia Kratke is banned from talk­ing about her treat­ment in the of­fice run by Do­minic Raab, left, fol­low­ing the set­tle­ment

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