Dominic Raab: The karate black belt who fought his way to Foreign Office

Dominic Raab is a karate black belt who played up his image as a Brexit hard man during the Tory leadership race.

The former Brexit secretary’s uncompromising commitment to taking the UK out of the European Union even led to him saying he would keep open the option of suspending Parliament in order to prevent MPs blocking it.

Mr Raab, 45, quit his Cabinet role in protest against Theresa May’s Brexit plan in November 2018.

He has been MP for Esher and Walton since 2010 and before that was a Foreign Office lawyer.

His political career suffered an early setback, with Theresa 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 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 his comment was “not the way forward (to) get away from gender warfare”.

It was a comment which continued to draw attention in the leadership race, as Mr Raab said he would “probably not” describe himself as a feminist although he was “all for working women making the very best of their potential”.

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 masters.

He competed in karate for 17 years, winning two British southern region titles, and making the UK squad.

Mr Raab also enjoyed boxing at university and claims it has been “pretty good in terms of preparing me for other big moments”, although “nothing has ever wracked me with nerves quite the same way”.

The leadership hopeful and his wife Erika have two sons, Peter and Joshua, and “enjoy balancing the pressures of work and family life as a team”, according to his website.

Mr Raab has denied claims, made by his former diary secretary, that he insisted on the same Pret a Manger lunch every day.

The “Dom Raab special” apparently consists of a chicken Caesar and bacon baguette, superfruit pot and a vitamin volcano smoothie.

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