express– On Monday, Ms Truss shared a photo of herself meeting with her counterparts in the Baltic states at Chevening in Kent. However, Mr Raab – who earned a demotion from the role in Boris Johnson’s latest reshuffle – is said to have wanted to retain use of the property, according to the Telegraph.
While Chevening House is not the official residence of the great office of state, like Chequers is for the Prime Minister, it has traditionally been used by the Foreign Secretary as a country retreat.
Under the Chevening Estate Act of 1959, it is there to be used as a person nominated by the Prime Minister – so long as they are a cabinet minister or a descendant of King George VI.
Mr Raab became Justice Secretary in September, as well as being made Deputy Prime Minister.
However, it was also revealed on Monday that he has not been asked to head up the Government in Mr Johnson’s stead while the PM is on holiday.
A source claimed to the Telegraph that the photoshoot had not been an overt attempt to show Mr Raab he no longer had a claim to the property and was merely “business as usual”.
“There’s nothing deliberate to it,” the Government source said, stating that Ms Truss “inherited” the event when she took over the role.
“This meeting was always supposed to be at Chevening.”
When Ms Truss first took over as Foreign Secretary, a Government source revealed to the Times that she thought his claim to the country estate was “completely spurious” and “that he’s being ridiculous”.
“Chevening is for the use of the Foreign Secretary.”
However, a source close to Truss said that the Chevening spat wasn’t a priority to her when she first took over, as she shortly jetted off for an “incredibly busy” week of meetings in the US.
“She is focused on getting on with the job,” she added.
Mr Johnson at the time said: “The people’s Government does not bother with fripperies and foibles of this kind.
“These types of questions, we will address in due course.”
Mr Johnson is said to have refused to intervene in the row.
Instead of deputising while in Marbella, the Prime Minister “continues to be in charge as is always the case”, his spokesperson said.
“[He] has taken calls with leaders already and there will be others to follow … [and] has been kept regularly updated on the ongoing work to address the current issues around fuel and supply chains.
“He is in regular contact with ministers and No 10. He is also continuing to take calls, particularly in the run-up to COP26.”
When Mr Johnson was in intensive care after catching coronavirus last April, Mr Raab deputised for him.
Ms Truss met with her counterparts in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia as part of attempts to counter “malign actors” Russia, China and Belarus.
Ms Truss said: “The UK’s partnership with our Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian allies is based on shared goals on security, economic prosperity and protecting democratic values and freedoms.
“The UK and our Baltic partners are champions of democracy and its associated freedoms.”
She added that at the meeting “foreign ministers Eva-Maria Liimets, Edgars Rinkevics, Gabrielius Landsbergis and I committed to advancing those freedoms and to work together to protect the basic human rights and values that underpin the democratic world that we want to live in.”
Chevening was in the ownership of the Earl Stanhope for generations, being used for political business.
When the last Earl Stanhope had no male heirs, and his only brother had been killed in World War I, he drafted the Chevening Act to ensure the estate continued its governmental use.
Trustees of the estate maintain it without a grant from the Government.
But those residing in Chevening pay for their private living costs.