Shropshire Star

Daniel Kawczynski: How Tory MP went from lockdown bullying to Commons suspension

See the full timeline of how Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski went from bullying parliamentary staff to facing suspension from the House of Commons.

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Daniel Kawczynski is the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury

Daniel Kawczynski is to be suspended from the House of Commons for one day and has been told to apologise after he told the media he had only previously apologised for his behaviour because he had no other choice.

In June 2021, the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham was told to apologise unequivocally to Parliament for his behaviour towards staff during the first coronavirus lockdown when he was unable to join a virtual committee meeting.

However on the day of the apology, he told Radio Shropshire that he was only apologising due to the fact he would face further sanctions if he did not.

Now, a new report from the Parliament Standards Committee has been published which has told Mr Kawczynski to apologise in the House of Commons again and recommended he be suspended for one day.

The report said his behaviour alone warranted a more severe punishment, but that the recommendations took into account mitigating factors including Mr Kawczynski's ill mental health at the time.

Mr Kawczynski has said he "unreservedly" accepts the report's findings and said that he had been left unable to leave his house due to abuse he had been facing from constituents.

Here we run through a timeline of the key events.

Daniel Kawczynski investigation timeline

  • April 27, 2020: Mr Kawczynski is unable to access a virtual meeting of a parliamentary committee due to technical difficulties. He has consumed a "significant" amount of alcohol and is "repeatedly rude, aggressive and impatient" with parliamentary staff.

  • April 29, 2020: Two members of the committee staff submit a complaint alleging that Mr Kawczynski's behaviour before, during and after the meeting breached Parliament's Bullying and Harassment Policy. The initial investigator concludes his behaviour broke behaviour code but did not meet the threshold of bullying and harassment. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards disagrees and concludes Mr Kawczynski "acted in an intimidatory and threatening" manner and abused his power as an MP.

  • May 4, 2020: Mr Kawczynski apologises to a senior staff manager "for any behaviour lacking in traditional patience and good manners". The timing of this apology is later questioned.

  • February 2, 2021: The Parliamentary Commissioner refers Mr Kawczynski to the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) to consider an appropriate sanction due to the serious nature of the breaches. Mr Kawczynski does not appeal the decision.

  • March 25, 2021: Mr Kawczynski gives evidence to the IEP.

  • March 30, 2021: A sub-panel of the IEP orders Mr Kawczynski to apologise in the House of Commons with the text to be pre-agreed. Mr Kawczynski appeals this decision on the grounds that the sub-panel had failed to fully consider the psychological and emotional pressure on him and the impact that apologising in the Commons would have on his mental health.

  • June 7, 2021: Mr Kawczynski is told his appeal has not been successful and that he must apologise in the Commons. At this point the decision is not public.

  • June 14, 2021: The IEP report is published. Mr Kawczynski apologises in the Commons and promises to "never repeat such behaviour" but only after telling Radio Shropshire he was only doing it because he had "no alternative".

  • June 17, 2021: The IEP chair refers Mr Kawczynski to the Standards Commissioner for failing to apologise unequivocally. He is also referred for potentially breaching confidentiality requirements by giving information which could identify the staff he bullied.

  • October 26, 2021: A report into Owen Paterson's breaching of paid lobbying rules is published by the House of Commons Committee on Standards and recommends a 30-day suspension. This eventually leads to Mr Paterson's resignation after Boris Johnson's botched attempts to change the rules regarding standards investigations.

  • December 3, 2021: The Standards Commissioner's memo on Mr Kawczynski's behaviour in June is received by the Standards Committee.

  • December 14, 2021: Mr Kawczynski submits written and oral evidence to the committee in private. He does not challenge the findings but offers mitigation, emphasising the "psychological turmoil" he was going through and the "trauma" of apologising in the House of Commons.

  • December 16, 2021: Mr Kawczynski says he "broke no rules" after facing criticism over separate claims that he asked a fixer to secure him a well-paid second job related to the Middle East.

  • January 4, 2021: Warsaw-born Mr Kawczynski defends taking thousands of pounds worth of Polish lessons which were funded by the taxpayer.

  • January 13, 2022: The Standards Committee's report is published and describes Mr Kawczynski's misconduct while speaking to the media as "particularly serious". It recommends he be suspended from the Commons for one day and says the suspension would have been longer were it not for the mitigating circumstances in Mr Kawczynski's case. It also recommends that he makes another formal apology in the House of Commons. Mr Kawczynski accepts the findings of the report "unreservedly" and issues a long statement outlining the difficulties he has had with his mental health.

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