A Conservative MP is seemingly refusing to backtrack on a tweet in which he claimed Britain didn’t receive any money after World War Two.
Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury, claimed that Britain did not benefit from the Marshall Plan in 1948, a scheme in which the US gave more than $12bn ($100bn, or £76bn, in today’s money) to countries in Western Europe to help rebuild.
Britain received the largest proportion of the fund, getting about a quarter of the money.
But Mr Kawczynski tweeted: “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.”
Since the tweet, he has received tens of thousands of responses, mostly corrections, but he has not apologised or corrected his statement. He hang up the phone on talkRADIO when confronted about the tweet.
Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “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.”
One response read: “Utterly ridiculous for anyone to bring up a war from over 70 years ago when discussing today’s situation, let alone a current member of Parliament. Pathetic excuse of a politician, you should be ashamed.”
The MP replied: “You need to get out more.”
He has also replied to criticism by focusing on the spelling of his surname, despite it being spelt correctly.
Dr Warren Dockter, an American expert in British history and lecturer in international politics at Aberystwyth University, said: “Dan is categorically wrong about the Marshall Plan.
“In addition to Marshall Plan money, the UK received favourable loans and grants on top of the Marshall Plan aid.”
Britain made the last repayment in 2006.
John Woodcock MP levelled more criticism against his parliamentary colleague when he tweeted: “New level of craven from Daniel Kawczynski MP: email invite to his parliament event on Russian soft power. Hosted on behalf of Russia Today.”
Mr Kawczynski has been taken to task on social media for claims before. In September last year he posted a picture of himself holding lemons in a supermarket and said: “EU protectionist racket means inefficient EU growers [are] preferred to other non-EU Mediterranean growers, due to massive tariffs imposed by EU”.
Tariffs on imported goods help to make domestic products look more appealing. Large amounts of the UK’s citrus fruits are imported from countries including South Africa and Mexico, which have a free trade deal with the EU and therefore, no tariffs.
(c) Sky News 2019: Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski under fire over Marshall Plan tweet