Great Britain

Tory MP ordered to apologise for bullying parliamentary staff

A Conservative MP has been ordered to make a public apology in the House of Commons after an investigation found he had bullied parliamentary staff.

Daniel Kawczynski acted in a "threatening and intimidating manner" after technical issues meant he was unable to join a committee hearing early last year.

The incident occurred in April 2020, just weeks after the first coronavirus lockdown was announced and as parliament was adapting to new ways of remote working.

The Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which oversees sanctions in such cases, said that it accepted that the life of an MP could be stressful but said that was no excuse for bullying staff members.

It found that Mr Kawczynski should make a public apology in the Commons.

Sir Stephen Irwin, the chairman of the IEP, said: "We accept that the circumstances which arose ... were difficult.

"But they were difficult for everyone. Whilst we fully grasp that the life of an MP can be highly pressurised, these responsibilities and stresses do not justify a loss of courtesy, an exaggerated sense of importance or entitlement, or bullying.”

A report released today says the MP showed a “worrying lack of insight and contrition in relation to the appropriateness and impact of his behaviour”.

“It is also clear that as this day proceeded, the (MP) consumed a significant amount of alcohol,” the report states.

It adds: “In respect to the issue of insight, we note that (Mr Kawczynski) has taken steps to better understand his personal drivers and the impact of his behaviour on others; however, we conclude that although his insight is developing, it is still quite limited”.

The panel said the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham had been repeatedly rude, aggressive and impatient with staff members.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found that Mr Kawczynski had acted in an intimidatory and threatening manner and that he had abused his power as a MP by making exaggerated and malicious claims. He did not appeal that decision.

Mr Kawczynski did, however, appeal a decision by a sub-group of the IEP that he should apologise on the floor of the House of Commons. But that appeal was rejected.

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