Daniel Kawczynski: MP 'accepts' punishment and says abuse on streets left him not wanting to leave house

A Shropshire MP facing suspension from the House of Commons says abuse from the public had left him not wanting to leave his own house.

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski is set to be suspended from the House of Commons
Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski is set to be suspended from the House of Commons

In a statement Shrewsbury & Atcham Conservative MP, Daniel Kawczynski, said he "unreservedly" accepts findings from Parliament's Committee on Standards – which concluded he had "undermined" his own apology after a previous investigation found he had bullied staff.

Mr Kawczynski had given a radio interview regarding his punishment for bullying, and appeared to call into doubt the sincerity of an apology he was required to make to the House of Commons, telling his interviewer: “I have no alternative but to apologise because if I don’t apologise then I risk the option of being sanctioned further”.

He now faces a one-day suspension from the House of Commons.

Mr Kawczynski said he had apologised to his colleagues over his actions, which he says came as his mental health was "significantly affected" by a "very difficult and painful period" in his life.

In a lengthy statement Mr Kawczynski said: "While the interview was at a time when I was in an emotional and distressed state, I accept fully that I was wrong to comment about the disciplinary procedures and I accept unreservedly the findings of the committee.

"My comments to Radio Shropshire came at the end of a very difficult and painful period in my life which I now recognise was significantly affecting my mental health.

"I have apologised to my colleagues and I will never again seek to undermine or challenge in any way the rules and regulations of the House of Commons."

Mr Kawcynski, pictured with environment minister Rebecca Pow, said the flooding of 2019 had contributed to the pressure on his mental health

Mr Kawczynski has said his mental health was affected by a number of issues, including family trauma, and "polarisation and vilification during Brexit".

He said: "A profoundly emotional and devastating family trauma in 2019, coupled with a series of work-related problems combined to affect my mental health in an unprecedented way.

"Issues such as the extraordinary polarisation and vilification during Brexit, constituency flooding in an overwhelmingly damaging and exceptional way plus the start of a national pandemic meant that I got to the stage that I was not wanting to go outside when I returned to Shrewsbury because of the abuse I was receiving in the street whenever I ventured out, even to just do some shopping."

The Shrewsbury Conservative said therapy and "intensive support" have enabled him to get "back on track", and that he would be volunteering with a mental health group, and working to raise awareness of the issue.

He said he wanted to "help break down the stigma" associated with mental illness, and "prove" to Shrewsbury & Atcham residents that "it’s possible to recover and come out stronger and better able to do your job".

Shrewsbury & Atcham Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski when he made his apology in the House of Commons

He said: "I am very grateful for the intensive support from both the Commons Health and Wellbeing Team and my therapist here in Shropshire, have now however got me back on track and I and others can now start to see the evidence of my mental health recovery, including my enjoyment of engaging with people again for the first time in a number of years.

"The extraordinary care and support from professionals working within the House of Commons plus my local Shropshire therapist have transformed my life for the better.

"In recognition of the support that I received and benefited so much from, I have accepted a position as a patron for a mental health support group and I will be acting as a regular volunteer.

"I hope to work with them to raise awareness of mental health services in Parliament and in the media.

"It is my intention to prove to constituents, that as with other illnesses, it’s possible to recover and come out stronger and better able to do your job.

"My Shropshire therapist said something which resonated with me: “With another type of visible illness that others go through, people will understand and give that person support to get through. Not always that easy with mental health as one is always somewhat reticent of speaking out about the problems experienced.

"As a public figure who has experienced mental health issues, I feel a duty to be open about it and to help break down the stigma which can still be associated due to a lack of understanding of what can be involved.

"One in four Britons will at some stage in their lives experience mental health problems and I hope that I can encourage others struggling to cope to feel confident in seeking help from the services that can support them.

"I wish to reiterate that nothing I have said about my own mental health struggles should detract in any way from my full acceptance of the Committee’s decision.

"It is an enormous privilege to represent Shrewsbury and I am very grateful for the support that I have received from my friends and colleagues during my period of poor health."

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