Kawczynski in June 2017
|Member of Parliament |
for Shrewsbury and Atcham
|Assumed office |
5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Paul Marsden|
|Born||24 January 1972|
(m. 2000; div. 2011)
|Alma mater||University of Stirling|
|Profession||International Account Manager, telecommunications industry|
Daniel Robert Kawczynski (Polish: Kawczyński, Polish pronunciation: [ka'ft͡ʂɨnskʲi]; born 24 January 1972) is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Shrewsbury and Atcham in Shropshire, England. The first British MP born in Poland, he was brought up in the United Kingdom from the age of six.
In the past he has served as Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a parliamentary aide to the former Welsh Secretary David Jones, as well as serving as a member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and as Special Advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron on Central and Eastern Europe and on Central and Eastern Europeans living in the United Kingdom.
Kawczynski was born on 24 January 1972 in Warsaw. He came to Britain with his mother at age six. He was privately educated at St George's College, Weybridge, an independent Roman Catholic school in Surrey, followed by Birmingham Polytechnic and then the University of Stirling where he read Business Studies with Languages, and was President of the University Conservative Association in 1991.
Kawczynski worked in the business entertainment industry before he became an international account manager in the telecommunications industry, a position he held for ten years.
At the following general election Kawczynski was selected as the Conservative Party candidate for the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency and was elected at the 2005 general election, succeeding Labour's Paul Marsden with 37.7% of the vote, compared to 34.1% for Labour and 22.8% for the Liberal Democrats. He was re-elected at the 2010 general election with 43.9% of the vote, compared to 29.0% for the Liberal Democrats in second. Kawczynski held his seat in the 2015 general election and the 2017 general election.
Upon entering Parliament he established the All Party Parliamentary Group for milk farmers to help milk farmers in his constituency. He sat as a member of both the International Development Select Committee and the Justice Select Committee, but was criticised by the Birmingham Post in 2009 for failing to regularly attend the meetings of the Select Committees to which he had been appointed. Kawczynski was recorded as having attended only 12.5% of all Justice Select Committee meetings and 31.3% of International Development Select Committee meetings during the previous last Parliamentary session. He stated the figure for the international development committee was wrong and he had been unable to attend the justice committee meetings because they clashed. The media noted his high attendance of debates during the 2010–2015 Parliament, which amounted to 29, noting that he had voted on 80.06% of issues, which is considered as above average amongst MPs.
In 2007, he signed an Early Day Motion that welcomed the "positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals". In May 2008, he voted to lower the abortion time limit to 12 weeks, and has stated that he believes an abortion limit of 24 weeks is incompatible with the kind of "Christian society" he wishes to live in. He also voted against a House of Lords amendment to abolish the offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel under common law. The abortion time limit vote failed and the blasphemy vote passed. Kawczynski voted in favour of same sex marriage in 2013, revealing shortly afterwards that he was in a same-sex relationship.
In September 2012, he was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to the new Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones MP. When Jones lost his job, Kawczynski became advisor to the Prime Minister David Cameron on Eastern and Central European Diaspora.
Kawczynski was chairman of the All-Party Group for Saudi Arabia between 2011 and 2016, during his time as chairman he led a number of delegations to the country, he was chairman of the All-Party Group for Libya but that group now ceases to exist, chairman of the All-Party Group for Poland and a vice-chairman of Conservative Friends of Poland.
Kawczynski has expressed support for a prospective Jacob Rees-Mogg leadership bid. In the 2016 leadership election, Kawczynski confirmed his support for Michael Gove via Twitter. However, his tweet was subsequently deleted as he had mistakenly tweeted support for a 'Michael Grove' instead.
In the wake of the Westminster Parliamentary Expenses scandal in 2009, Kawczynski was ordered to repay £4000 for rent costs that he had over-claimed. He defended his position as the 13th highest expenses claimant in the entire country on the grounds that the figures were 'skewed', detailing that figures had been boosted by one off costs, such as the redesign of his website and additional research costs.
It was reported in early November 2017 that Kawczynski had been reprimanded in front of witnesses by Eleanor Laing, the Conservative MP and deputy speaker, for asking a young researcher employed by Laing to go on a date with a rich businessman contact of his who was "older than her father". The incident in January 2013, according to Channel 4 News in November 2017, was preceded by an intermediary making the same approach several times. Laura Hughes, writing for The Daily Telegraph, reported that Kawczynski has been referred to the Conservative's new disciplinary committee. He has admitted to the incident, but rejects the accusation of inappropriate conduct.
Views on Saudi Arabia
In 2015, Kawczynski was described as a strong supporter of the Saudi Arabian government. On one of his trips to Saudi Arabia, Kawczynski told Salman Al Saud (who is now King) how proud he was of the military cooperation between the two countries. He later said that he was writing "the most pro-Saudi book ever written by a British politician" and that he had been "battling against extraordinary ignorance and prejudice against Saudi Arabia for many years".
Following an appearance on Newsnight in which he defended the Saudi regime's approach to the war in Yemen and accused the programme of bias, Kawczynski threatened legal action after its editor Ian Katz suggested his strength of feeling on the issue might be linked to the size of the budget for his expenses on trips to Saudi Arabia. After Justice Secretary Michael Gove cancelled a prison contract with Saudi Arabia, Kawczynski was so enraged that he slapped his forehead and shouted "no!" during a parliamentary debate on the issue.
Since becoming the chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland in 2014, Kawczynski has supported a range of enterprises from his constituency in seeking business partners and export markets in Poland and other Central and Eastern European countries, offering support and advice. Kawczynski has been a frequent visitor to the British Polish Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw where he often described the importance of trade between Poland and the United Kingdom. Kawczynski has also cooperated with the Federation of Small Businesses and the UK Trade & Investment in Serbia and in Poland.
During a visit on 1 September 2014, Kawczynski stressed the need for the Polish diaspora in the UK to foster the trade relationship between the two countries. In September 2014, Kawczynski visited Krynica International Economic Forum, where he participated in various economic debates and conferences, notably the "Poland – Science and Innovation – Strategies for Growth" where he focused on explaining the importance of improving the cooperation between British, Polish and German universities. In 2016 he visited the Krynica Economic Forum and was invited to a panel on the future of the European Union. He appealed for an increased importance of NATO and a closer cooperation between the Visegrad Group and the United Kingdom.
The Polish community in the United Kingdom created a grass-roots portal promoting Kawczynski's activities which foster the British-Polish links. The portal under the name "Daniel Kawczynski – British-Polish Relations" describes the events that Kawczynski organised for the Polish community, the meetings he had with Polish war veterans and politicians as well as his actions in promoting the post-Brexit rights of EU citizens. In September 2015, during a visit by the Polish President to London, Kawczynski co-hosted an event with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon paying a tribute to over two dozen Polish war veterans who fought together with the Allies during the Second World War.
In July 2016, Kawczynski held a first ever Westminster Hall debate on the positive influence of Polish immigrants to the UK economy which gathered 23 MPs. In 2016, Kawczynski was distinguished as an "Outstanding Pole Abroad of 2016" for his efforts in promoting trade and political relations between the United Kingdom and his country of birth. On 18 July 2017, Kawczynski hosted another British-Polish event in the House of Commons, where he criticised the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and called for permanent NATO bases to be established in eastern Poland as a sign of increased cooperation between Poland and the UK.
In 2017, Kawczynski joined calls for Germany to pay war reparations for crimes committed against the Allies and for the destruction of Poland during the Second World War. On 15 October 2017, Kawczynski sent a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel urging her to stop demanding money from the UK during the Brexit negotiations and start paying what they owe Poland.
The Electrum Group
Since February 2018, Kawczynski has been paid £6000 per month - roughly as much as his MP salary - by the The Electrum Group, a New York City-based investment, advisory and asset management firm with a focus on the natural resources sector owned by Thomas Kaplan. Kawczynski defended his association with the American company by saying that work for them would be done in his spare time, and stating that roughly half of MPs declared outside income on the register of members’ interests.
In September 2018, Kawczynski, who strongly supports Brexit, said on Twitter that EU lemon growers are inefficient, and that the EU imposed tariffs on the import of fruit from non-EU Mediterranean countries, causing higher prices to consumers. Both claims were swiftly refuted. The EU has free trade agreements with numerous non-EU countries, including the Mediterranean country Egypt, allowing fruit from those countries to be imported tariff-free. Additionally, within the EU, both Spain and the Netherlands have extensive high-efficiency lemon-growing operations.[better source needed]
On 2 February 2019, Kawczynski was criticised for tweeting that the UK had received no Marshall Plan aid after World War II, in the context of a complaint about the alleged attitude of the European Union. He said, "Britain helped to liberate half of Europe. She mortgaged herself up to eye balls in process. No Marshall Plan for us only for Germany. We gave up war reparations in 1990. We put £370 billion into EU since we joined. Watch the way ungrateful EU treats us now. We will remember." In fact, the United Kingdom received the most Marshall Plan funding of any country in Europe, receiving $2.7 billion in aid. Germany received $1.7 billion. After widespread challenges, Kawczynski nevertheless did not delete the tweet nor retract it. Kawczynski reiterated his position to the Shropshire Star, stating that: "There are many people in this country who want to whitewash the sacrifice that Britain has made over generations for Europe. They say it is not appropriate to look at a country's history to understand her credentials...Those affiliated to Europe in this country hate any challenge to their point of view."
Views on Brexit
As a vocal supporter of Brexit and former member of the European Research Group (the ERG), which he left on 8 April 2019, it was still somewhat surprising that Kawczynski turned on the behaviour of some of the members of the group when on 7 May he said, whilst being interviewed by Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live:
- "If we cannot do this, if this is beyond us, and if we fail, then another referendum is inevitable. If we fail, if there can be no compromise between the parties, I can actually see then the logic, and other people will be demanding another referendum. And those like me who have genuine concerns about what will happen to our society if we go through this process again, we will lose that debate over the referendum, because it will be the only option then left available to try to break the gridlock that we’ve entered into. And it will be the fault of these people in the Conservative party – in the ERG, and others – who refuse to compromise. I can’t begin to explain how worried and angry I am at their lack of being able to compromise and listen to what their constituents have to say."
In 2000, Kawczynski married Kate Lumb, with whom he had a daughter, but they divorced in 2011. In June 2013, he announced to his Conservative Association that his new partner is male. He is the second MP in Britain to come out as bisexual, the first being Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes. He currently lives in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
At 6 feet 8 1⁄2 inches (204.5 cm), Kawczynski claimed after his first election in 2005 to be the tallest MP in history and "officially a giant".
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- @DKShrewsbury (8 April 2019). "Have decided to resign from ERG. Despite excellent Chairmanship by @Jacob_Rees_Mogg who has accommodated all views I can no longer be a member of caucas [sic] which is preventing WA4 from passing. Hardcore element of 'Unicorn' dreamers now actually endangering #Brexit" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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- "Conservative MP 'is tallest ever'". London: BBC. 21 June 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
- Official website
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- "Daniel Kawczynski MP". BBC.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury and Atcham