Tory MP humiliated after ham-fisted bid to persuade Polish PM to veto Brexit extension is rejected

Written by John Johnston on 23 October 2019 in Diary

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski has been publicly snubbed by the Polish government after a bungled attempt to force them in to blocking a Brexit extension.

Polish-born Daniel Kawczynski had hoped to lobby Warsaw into rejecting the UK's request for a Brexit extension after Boris Johnson was forced to send a letter to EU leaders asking for a new January 2020 deadline.

Under the European Union system, any of the EU27 leaders could block the proposals, ensuring the 31 October deadline stays in place.

But the Polish government hit back at the request telling reporters a no-deal Brexit was "not in their interest" and they would play "no part" in the MP's plan.

The rebuff came after Mr Kawczynski's launched his bungled 'charm' offensive last week by comparing Poland and other member states to fearful citizens living under an EU "mafia cartel" who were "frightened of putting their head above the parapet". 

The unflattering comparison was followed by a half-pleading, half-threatening Telegraph op-ed which began with a plodding summary of the UK's role in freeing Poland from Soviet subjugation before launching into a series of veiled threats about the future security relationship between the two countries if they rejected the request.

In the direct appeal to Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki, he wrote: "In the aftermath of World War Two, the UK refused to accept or tolerate Soviet dominion over Central and Eastern Europe. Instead, the UK began to agitate against the authoritarian communist regimes that brought endless misery to so many."

He added: "When the EU enlarged, it was the UK who championed Poland's application for both NATO and EU membership. And when many EU members restricted access to migrants from Central and Eastern European nations, it was the UK who immediately and generously gave thousands of Poles the opportunity to live and work there."

"It simply is not in your interest to allow the dither and delay to continue, as it surely would under yet another extension of Article 50," he continued.

"The sooner the result of the referendum is honoured, the sooner our two nations can begin to build a strong bilateral partnership based on security through the NATO alliance and prosperity through the free flow of trade and investment."

If Mr Morawiecki -  who was 12-years-old when he began his long involvement in the anti-communist resistance - was not convinced by this appeal to repay a historic debt to the UK, Mr Kawczynski hoped he could win him round by restating the appeal in his native Polish.

But the plans began to come unstuck when Mr Kawczynski, who claimed to be near-fluent in the language, was unable to tell the BBC's 5Live programme what the Polish word for "veto" was.

The humiliation was compounded when the BBC presenter later tweeted that the word the Tory MP was hunting for was "weto".

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