Conservative MP confronted in live TV interview about false Second World War claim: ‘I was promised you wouldn’t raise that’

‘I got into a lot of trouble over that Marshall Plan tweet’

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 12 February 2019 13:22
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Daniel Kawczynski explains Marshall Aid tweet blunder

A Conservative MP has been confronted during a live television interview about a false claim he made about US aid after the Second World War.

During an often excruciating interrogation by Sky News’ Adam Boulton, Daniel Kawczynski repeatedly refused to directly admit that his much-ridiculed Twitter post was wrong – even suggesting character restrictions on the platform made it “very difficult for MPs to get everything across”.

In a tweet he has still not deleted, Mr Kawczynski claimed the UK did not receive any money from the $12bn Marshall Plan in 1948 and suggested the funding designed to rebuild European countries in the postwar era was “only for Germany”.

But his comments drew an angry backlash, with many pointing to the fact the UK was the largest beneficiary of the aid money.

Mr Kawczynsk, who has previously hung up during a radio interview when questioned about the post, was pressed on the incorrect claim once more in an awkward encounter on Sky News.

“I was promised you wouldn’t raise that,” he told the presenter, before he added: “I got into a lot of trouble over that Marshall Plan tweet.

“What I would say is... it’s very difficult for MPs to get everything across in the limited number of characters.”

He continued: “What I was trying to say is that the United Kingdom – I believe the United Kingdom did not benefit as much as other countries because of the huge loans that we had to take out during the Second World War, which we only finished paying off in 2007.

“If I have caused any offence with that tweet then I apologise.”

Asked whether he agreed it was factually wrong, however, the MP for Shrewsbury said: “Well Britain did receive money under the Marshall Plan, but the huge loans that she took and the massive task that she took on by herself to liberate half of Europe cost her dearly. She’s been paying those loans right up until 10 years ago.”

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