Move comes after Guardian revealed Daniel Kawczynski hosted businessman in parliament while hoping to secure lucrative work
Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski has been reported to the parliamentary commissioner for standards, after the Guardian revealed how the politician hosted a Saudi Arabian businessman in parliament while hoping to secure a lucrative second job.
Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow leader of the Commons, has now asked Kathryn Stone to investigate whether any wrongdoing took place, saying: “This would appear to be yet another potentially egregious breach of the rules. An MP trying to use their parliamentary resources to tout for a second job is unacceptable.”
WhatsApp messages seen by the Guardian show how the Conservative MP pleaded with a fixer for lucrative regular paid work from Saudi businessman Yasser bin Homran. At one point in November 2017 Kawczynski took Bin Homran for dinner in a private dining room at the House of Commons and offered a tour of parliament.
On another occasion, in September 2017, Kawczynski asked the fixer to secure him a large payment for speaking at a conference about the Qatar World Cup because the MP needed “to pay school fees”.
He then invited the fixer to a meeting in parliament to discuss the project, saying: “Perhaps you could come to Commons?? We could have coffee together in my office in Commons or can meet you somewhere else if not convenient for you!”
The fixer says the meeting took place in parliament but they did not discuss business, saying it was instead a “general meeting to get to know more about each other”. The messages were sent in 2017 and 2018.
Labour’s letter to the standards commissioner cited the MPs’ code of conduct, which states that MPs are personally responsible for ensuring publicly-funded offices and facilities are used to support parliamentary duties, rather than for “undue personal or financial benefit”.
Debbonaire said: “The parliamentary commissioner for standards should investigate this. Labour supports toughening up the standards system, with a ban on directorships and paid consultancies for MPs. We have seen time and time again that Conservative MPs repeatedly think they can put their own private business interests ahead of their constituents and the prime minister must put a stop to this.”
While attempting to secure a second job, the Tory MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham asked the fixer to find him work with a Saudi employer, describing himself as the most “pro-Saudi” member of parliament and boasting that the Saudi leader, Mohammed bin Salman, “has stated that Saudi has no better friend in UK than me”.
No new work appears to have materialised from Kawczynski’s pleas. In her letter to the standards watchdog, Debbonaire acknowledges that the current rules do allow for MPs to undertake some paid consultancy work.
Kawczynski did not respond to request a for comment but in a statement to the Times, his office said: “It is clear that at this time, the press wish to keep a momentum going, the sale of stories no matter the consequences to people’s lives. At this time, Daniel Kawczynski is focused on Covid spread prevention measures, and his work for the constituency of Shrewsbury and Atcham. No rules were broken with regards to consultancy work, nor were any parliamentary resources used for personal gain.”