Tory MP faces Commons suspension over ‘insincere’ apology for bullying

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Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski is facing the prospect of a one-day suspension from Parliament for “undermining” an apology he gave in the Commons for bullying staff.

The Commons Standards Committee has recommended the MP should also make a further apology in the Commons after media interviews he gave appeared to call into doubt the sincerity of his earlier apology.

In its report, the committee said Mr Kawczynski had been required to apologise “unequivocally” for the earlier breach.

“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,” the committee said.

Houses of Parliament
The Standards Committee said Daniel Kawczynski had ‘undermined the sincerity’ of his apology (PA)

“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 MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham made his original apology in June last year after he was found to have breached rules on bullying and harassment following a complaint by Commons staff.

However, the same day he told an interviewer from BBC Radio Shropshire: “I have no alternative but to apologise because if I don’t apologise then I risk the option of being sanctioned further.”

An investigation by Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone found he also breached confidentiality rules by identifying the complainants through their job titles.

In its report, the committee said Mr Kawczynski’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”.

It 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.”

Mr Kawczynski was a parliamentary neighbour and ally of Owen Paterson, who quit last year as MP for North Shropshire after a botched attempt by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to get him off the hook when he was said to have broken rules banning paid lobbying by MPs.

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