During an interview with Sky News on Tuesday, Daniel Kawczynski was asked if he wanted to retract a claim made earlier this month in which he said there was “no Marshall Plan for us, only for Germany”.
The Marshall Plan was an American financial initiative to rebuild western Europe after the devastation of war, and Britain was the biggest beneficiary, receiving what in modern terms amounted to around $100bn.
During the interview on Tuesday, host Adam Boulton brought up the tweet but Kawczynski refused to admit he was wrong, before making yet another dubious claim:
ADAM BOULTON: “That’s wrong, isn’t it? Britain was actually the biggest recipient of Marshall Plan funds from the USA.”
DANIEL KAWCZYNSKI: “I was promised you wouldn’t raise that but...”
BOULTON: “Sorry but I wasn’t told that, I just want to clear the air.
KAWCZYNSKI: “I’ve got into a lot of trouble for that Marshall Plan tweet, but what I would say is that it’s very difficult for MPs to get everything across in the limited number of characters.
“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.
“But if I have caused any offence with that tweet then I apologise.”
BOULTON: “So you admit it was factually wrong [to say there was] no Marshall Plan for us?”
KAWCZYNSKI: “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 and she’s been paying [back] those loans up until ten years ago.”
Far from doing it alone, Britain liberated Europe alongside a multi-national coalition that included the USA, Canada, Poland, Greece, France, Belgium and six other nations.
The interview drew yet more criticism on social media. Guardian columnist Maria Hyde said he “is still incapable of admitting he got basic facts staggeringly wrong”.
Oliver Kamm of The Times said he “actually seeks veto on the questions he’s asked”.
He made the announcement in a tweet, claiming he was trying to thwart “attempts by Remainer MPs to delay or obstruct Brexit”.
The move was swiftly condemned as commentators highlighted the hypocrisy of someone campaigning for more sovereignty actively seeking another government to interfere in the UK’s affairs.