LONDON — A Conservative MP who was forced to apologize to the House of Commons this week for bullying a member of parliamentary staff has revealed he is writing a book on emotional intelligence.
Daniel Kawczynski, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, issued his apology on Monday after the standards watchdog found he had been “repeatedly rude, aggressive and impatient” toward a colleague.
However, ahead of his statement in the Commons, Kawczynski told BBC Radio Shropshire he was only doing it because he had “no alternative” and would face further sanctions if he refused.
He went on to tell the BBC: “There’s a wonderful lady in the constituency who taught emotional intelligence to senior vice marshals for many years. She came to see me at the start of this crisis and she could see that I was under pressure, and was feeling rather down, and she said I want to teach you about emotional intelligence.”
“I was very skeptical to begin with, but so profound has our interaction been with one another that we’re now writing a book together on emotional intelligence and politics.”
He cast further doubt on the sanctions process, claiming it had been designed to “control MPs” and that it had “thrown the baby out with the bathwater” in the effort to create a robust system after allegations of bullying against John Bercow. The former Commons speaker denies any wrongdoing.
Two parliamentary officials said that Kawczynski has now been referred back to the standards commissioner after the radio interview amid concerns he had undermined his own apology to the House.
The Tory MP did not dispute the facts of the original complaint against him, but said he had been under extreme pressure at the time of the incident in April 2020 and apologized in writing to the member of staff.
In part of his evidence to the standards commissioner, he claimed he had been under great stress because of Brexit, flooding in his constituency, and because of his height — six foot nine — which he said made him easily recognizable to abusive constituents.
In Monday’s radio interview, he said the commissioner had told him during the investigation that “because I’m a giant, if I’m saying something negative to somebody else, then it puts them under pressure.”
“So she said, if you want to be critical of somebody you need to ask them to sit down and you both sit on chairs so that you are speaking to them on the same level. I can’t help being six foot nine.”
Kawczynski appealed the recommendation by an independent expert panel that he ought to offer an apology, arguing his would be bad for his mental health. The panel rejected his appeal. He did not respond to a request for comment.
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