Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski set to be suspended from Parliament over 'insincere' bullying apology

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski is set to be suspended from the House of Commons after being found to have broken parliamentary rules twice in 18 months.

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski 'apologising' in the House of Commons
Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski 'apologising' in the House of Commons

The Commons Standards Committee has recommended the Conservative MP be suspended for one day after giving media interviews which called into doubt the sincerity of an apology he gave for bullying staff.

In June last year, Mr Kawczynski was found to have acted in a "threatening and intimidating manner" towards parliamentary staff after he was unable to join a committee hearing due to technical problems having consumed a "significant amount of alcohol".

Mr Kawczynski had been required to apologise “unequivocally” for the earlier breach but the MP told BBC Radio Shropshire he was only apologising because he would face further sanctions if he refused.

WATCH MP's Commons apology:

In its report, the committee said: “Although he says he was sincere by the time he made the apology to the House, he had that morning effectively undermined the sincerity of that apology by broadcasting the fact that he was making it because he was required to do so and he disagreed with the way the case had been conducted.

“Mr Kawczynski also broke confidentiality requirements by speaking to Radio Shropshire about the content of the report before it was published and identifying complainants’ job descriptions on nine occasions in his radio interview.”

Mr Kawczynski has now said that he "fully accepts" he was wrong to comment on the disciplinary procedures and "unreservedly" accepts the findings of the committee, adding that the interview with Radio Shropshire happened after a "difficult and painful" period which had affected his mental health.

It is the second time in three months the committee has recommended a Shropshire MP be suspended from Parliament, after it ruled Owen Paterson broke paid lobbying regulations in a decision that eventually led to the election of Lib Dem Helen Morgan in North Shropshire.

There have also been calls for Mr Kawczynski to be investigated over claims he asked a fixer to secure him a well-paid extra job related to the Middle East. He already earns £3,000 a month as a consultant for a mining investment firm on top of his £82,000 annual salary as an MP.

Meanwhile the recent investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone found Mr Kawczynski also breached confidentiality rules by identifying the complainants through their job titles.

In its report, the committee said the Shrewsbury Conservative's conduct was particularly serious as it risked undermining the credibility of the independent complaints and grievances scheme for Commons staff which has only recently been established.

Normally it would merit a more serious sanction but the committee acknowledged the mitigating circumstances cited by the MP, including his commitment to work on his “attitude and behaviour”.

Owen Paterson quit as MP for North Shropshire after being investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

The statement said: “We are persuaded that Mr Kawczynski has been making a sincere attempt to arrive at a better understanding of the roots of his poor behaviour and is genuinely committed to this personal ‘journey’ and to assisting others who may find themselves in the same situation as himself.

“Mr Kawczynski has demonstrated to us that he is contrite. He knows that he was foolish and wrong to speak to the journalists as he did.

“But his contrition does not detract from the fact that his actions caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole.”

In a statement released after the report's publication, Mr Kawczynski said he had suffered "devastating" family trauma in 2019 which, combined with issues in his work as an MP, had combined to affect his 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," he added.

Mr Kawczynski, who was first elected in 2005, has recently faced scrutiny after messages were leaked to the Guardian where he claimed to be the most pro-Saudi member of Parliament and said he needed extra work to help pay school fees.

He has also been criticised for taking Polish lessons paid for by the taxpayer despite having been born in Warsaw and already being capable of speaking his native tongue.

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