ANNA MIKHAILOVA: MPs have used taxpayers’ money to learn a foreign language that has questionable relevance to their constituents or parliamentary duties
Amid the quagmire of sordid suffocation around the Conservative Party, there has been a lack of outspokenness.
And yet MPs are using taxpayers’ money to learn a foreign language that has questionable relevance to their constituents or their parliamentary duties. For example, Tory MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham Daniel Kawczynski is so ‘proud’ of his Polish roots that he decided, in his fifth decade, to learn the language – at a cost to taxpayers of £13,754 on five years.
Commons officials tell me that any MP can claim reimbursement for learning a foreign language if they feel it is “related to their parliamentary duties”.
However, Kawczynski is the UK’s trade envoy to… Mongolia. Fortunately, he wasted no time wooing ministers in the mineral-rich country in a way that has no connection, of course, with the £36,000 second salary he receives from a mining company. mining investment. With any luck, during his next lesson, Warsaw-born Kawczynski might learn to say “przepraszam,” Polish for “sorry,” a word he seems to struggle to say in English. The MP was found to have bullied staff and called them ‘useless’ – something his Polish teacher could tell him after five years of lessons.
Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski is learning Polish while Labor MP Ellie Reeves, right, is learning Italian
Other MPs learning foreign jargon with voters picking up “il conto” included Labor MP Ellie Reeves (Italian) and Angus MacNeil (Icelandic) of the SNP. There is a tendency for MPs to learn a new language which is directly related to the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on which they sit.
Kawczynski chairs the Poland group, while Tory Stephen Crabb – who is learning French – is on the France one. Reeves co-chairs the APPG for Italy, and Mark Menzies, the Conservative MP for Fylde in Scotland, cost taxpayers thousands of pounds for Spanish lessons while chairing an APPG in Latin America.
Meanwhile, Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael, who charged for his Arabic lessons, sits on the APPG for Qatar. And Drew Hendry – the SNP MP who last week vehemently denied being drunk on a flight to Gibraltar – has taken German lessons and sits on the APPG for Germany.
The Commons website clearly states that APPGs “have no official status in Parliament”.
They are often funded by private companies and are known as fertile ground for lobbying – or simply an excuse for pretty paying strangers.
I can’t help but feel like the taxpayer is being taken for a ride – in any language.
Former Met Chief at Police Academy II
The former Met Chief of Police who oversaw Operation Midland, the failed VIP sex abuse investigation, has been given a job training police officers in India, I can reveal. (Lord) Bernard Hogan-Howe has spent the past month giving ideas – for a fee – to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy in Hyderabad.
He follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, Met Commissioner Lord Blair, who trained officers at the same academy after he was sacked following several scandals, including a row involving allegations of discrimination by Asian officers.
After the government’s attempt to tear up the rules to save his Tory friend Owen Paterson from suspension for lobbying, Sir Keir Starmer devised a dazzling solution to cleaning up politics from the ‘sewer’: another quango.
If elected Prime Minister, Sir Keir has promised to set up an office for value for money. Clearly he hadn’t read the report by former Competition and Markets Authority chairman Andrew Tyrie that the UK is a ‘quango state’ and its powers must be reduced .