Now Owen Paterson ally faces ban after ‘insincere’ apology to MPs: Backlash over Daniel Kawczynski’s clash with sleaze watchdog
- Daniel Kawcynski was ordered to say sorry after he was found guilty of bullying
- He ranted at parliamentary staffers and made baseless complaints about them
- On the day of his apology he admitted he was trying to avoid a House suspension
- He is under investigation again by Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone
- He is parliamentary neighbour and political ally of scandal-hit Owen Paterson
Another disgraced Tory MP is facing a Commons ban over a clash with the sleaze watchdog.
Daniel Kawczynski – a parliamentary neighbour and political ally of scandal-hit Owen Paterson – was ordered to say sorry after Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone found him guilty of bullying.
He had ranted at parliamentary staffers when he could not join a virtual meeting, then made baseless complaints about them when drunk.
But he admitted on the same day as his apology that he did not mean it and was only going through the motions to avoid being suspended from the House.
As a result of his insincere speech in the Commons chamber in June, Mr Kawczynski is under investigation again by Miss Stone for the second time in five months.
Daniel Kawczynski (pictured) – a parliamentary neighbour and political ally of scandal-hit Owen Paterson – was ordered to say sorry after Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone found him guilty of bullying
This time he is accused of ‘actions causing significant damage to the reputation of the House’ and faces a more severe punishment if he is found to have breached the MPs’ Code of Conduct. Miss Stone’s ruling on Mr Kawczynski is expected shortly.
It is the latest in a series of controversies involving the MP, whose Shrewsbury and Atcham seat borders the North Shropshire constituency of Mr Paterson.
Mr Kawczynski was among the Tory MPs who voted last week to spare his fellow Brexiteer a Commons ban for lobbying.
In 2017 as allegations of harassment of women swept Parliament, he was reported to have once pressured a young female parliamentary researcher to go on a date with a wealthy contact of his.
Deputy Speaker and fellow Tory, Dame Eleanor Laing, who employed the female aide, angrily confronted Mr Kawczynski over his ‘inappropriate behaviour’.
Then in June this year he was shamed by a standards report over his behaviour at the start of the pandemic.
After he was unable to join in a committee meeting by video link in April 2020, Mr Kawczynski made repeated complaints to the support staff who were trying to help him.
He kept phoning one of the committee staff, telling him ‘this is a scandal, an outrage’, ‘you are useless’ and branding him part of the ‘snowflake generation’.
Later he rang one of the committee workers’ managers ‘whilst under the influence of alcohol’ in an ‘inappropriate’ attempt to make a ‘meritless complaint’ about them.
He was found to have acted in a ‘threatening and intimidating manner’.
The Standards Commissioner concluded that Mr Kawczynski’s behaviour amounted to bullying and was made worse by his ‘abuse of power’ and ‘lack of contrition’.
He was told to make an apology by the Independent Expert Panel, which decides on sanctions in bullying cases.
But he appealed, claiming he faced ‘serious difficulties’ in his constituency, partly as a result of a flooding crisis, but also because of his 6ft 9in height, which makes him the tallest MP.
His height made him ‘very conspicuous’ and he had come under ‘repeated attack by members of the public’, he claimed.
Mr Kawczynski (second from right) is a parliamentary neighbour and political ally of scandal-hit Owen Paterson (far right)
Mr Kawczynski’s appeal was rejected and he was ordered to make a public apology on the floor of the House, in which he said: ‘I did not swear nor raise my voice but my behaviour led to two complaints.
‘I have reflected on my behaviour, I accept it constituted bullying and as such was entirely inexcusable.’
But on the same day he told BBC Radio Shropshire: ‘I must apologise because if I don’t apologise then I risk the option of being sanctioned further – namely being suspended from the House of Commons or expelled from the House of Commons.’
At the same time he told a national newspaper that making the apology was ‘something I am going to have to do’ and he would ‘use the script he had been provided’ – although he denied it meant he was doing it ‘with his fingers crossed behind his back’.
Mr Kawczynski first gained notoriety in 2013 when he told a one-legged drug addict outside Westminster tube station to stop begging and ‘get a job’.
The MP, who was an adviser to David Cameron on Eastern Europe, also faced criticism over his support for Saudi Arabia, leading several delegations to the country and defending its role in the war in Yemen.
Last year he was condemned for appearing at a conference with Right-wing populists Viktor Orban of Hungary and Matteo Salvini of Italy.
Mr Kawczynski declined to comment.
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