13 Jan Daniel Kawczynski: Conservative MP facing suspension for breaking rules over apology for bullying parliamentary staff | Politics News
Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski is facing a one-day suspension from the Commons after being found to have broken the rules over an apology he gave for bullying parliamentary staff.
The recommendation has been made by the Commons Standards Committee and follows comments the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham made before he said sorry last June.
Mr Kawczynski was found to have acted in a “threatening and intimidating manner” towards the complainants after he was unable to join a committee hearing because of technical problems.
But the committee ruled that interviews he gave on local radio and with a newspaper before the required apology in the Commons chamber meant he had failed to comply, as the apology was not “unequivocal”.
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.”
The committee added: “Mr Kawczynski’s actions caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole.
“His actions also undermined the ICGS (Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme) and risked causing further harm to the complainants in his original case.”
Mr Kawczynski said he was under “great pressure” at the time the incident occurred – in part because he is so tall.
The Independent Expert Panel, which determines appeals and sanctions in bullying cases, said the incident in question happened in April 2020 when Mr Kawczynski was unable to join a committee hearing due to technical issues.
At the time, Parliament was adapting to new remote working arrangements during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
The panel’s disciplinary report said the MP had consumed a “significant amount of alcohol” on the day and phoned the manager of the committee staff while under the influence, behaviour that was “grossly unprofessional”.
According to the panel, Mr Kawczynski accepted that on several occasions he let the two complainants, referred to as C1 and C2, and others know of his dissatisfaction.
He said that his frustration, combined with more “long-standing personal issues”, may have had a “detrimental impact on the way in which he behaved”.
According to the panel, Mr Kawczynski told them that he was dealing with a number of “real pressures” in his role as an MP, as well as being under pressure “in part for personal reasons”.
“Brexit and serious flooding in his constituency both gave rise to serious difficulties for him as the local MP,” the panel said.
“The Respondent is 6’9” tall and thus very conspicuous in the street, in his local shops.
“He found himself under repeated attack by members of the public on both these grounds.
“He emphasised to us how such attacks could be extremely vicious.
“Against that background, the advent of the pandemic added another layer of pressure.
“It was in that context that his frustration with the technical problems associated with a remote meeting caused him to be so angry.
“Nevertheless, he emphasised that he had never set out to bully anyone and did not wish to bully anyone.”