Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski refuses to retract false Twitter claim about Second World War, despite ridicule

Member for Shrewsbury says row has been whipped up by people who want to 'whitewash the sacrifice that Britain has made over generations for Europe'

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Monday 04 February 2019 18:10
Daniel Kawczynski on his grandfather's brother who was killed for helping Jewish families during the war

A Conservative MP who wrongly suggested that the UK missed out on US aid in the wake of the Second World War has refused to back down, despite being widely criticised over the claim.

Daniel Kawczynski, a vocal Brexiteer, triggered an angry backlash after claiming that the UK had not received any money from the $12bn "Marshall Plan" in 1948.

He suggested the funding, designed to help European countries rebuild after the war, was "only for Germany".

In fact, the UK received 20 per cent of the Marshall Plan money - more than any other country.

Despite being criticised over the false claim, Mr Kawczynski refused to delete the comment, which was posted on Twitter.

Instead, he told the Shropshire Star newspaper: "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.

"The furore I can deal with."

Speaking to the BBC, he added: "The tweet was actually talking about all the things that Britain has done for Europe. Let's not forget we liberated part of Europe in the Second World War.

"Unfortunately, many European countries are not treating us as fairly as Britain has treated Europe over centuries.

"I was trying to get across that Britain has been very fair and very generous."

The Conservative Party did not respond to questions on whether any disciplinary action will be taken against the Shrewsbury MP.

His initial tweet, posted as a critique of the EU, read: "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."

The claim was widely criticised on social media.

Labour MP David Lammy wrote: "Is this a parody account?

"Britain received billions from the Marshall Plan and significantly more than West Germany or any other nation. Pick up a history book and you will learn that this brand of jingoistic nationalism is what tore our continent apart twice in one century."

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments