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Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski under fire over Marshall Plan tweet

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski under fire over Marshall Plan tweet

  • 4 February 2019
Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski has defended the tweet

An MP has come under fire for a statement on Twitter about Europe and Britain after the Second World War.

Daniel Kawczynski, the Conservative representative for Shrewsbury, claimed Britain received no money from the Marshall Plan, American payments of more than $12bn agreed in 1948 to help rebuild Europe.

But Britain received about 20% of the money, more than any other country.

Mr Kawczynski said the money was not "aid" but a "commercial loan".

His tweet from Saturday has received more than 10,000 replies, most saying he was wrong.

"Dan is categorically wrong about the Marshall Plan," said Dr Warren Dockter, lecturer in international politics at Aberystwyth University.

Britain received the largest share, while France received 18% and West Germany received 11%, he said.

"In addition to Marshall Plan money, the UK received favourable loans and grants on top of the Marshall Plan aid," he said.

Britain made its last repayment on the Marshall Plan loans in 2006.

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Dr Charlotte Riley, an expert in modern British history, said Britain waived its rights to collect World War Two reparations from Germany in 1990, in an agreement when the country was reunified.

Analysis by BBC Reality Check

Conservative MP Daniel 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."

The Marshall Plan (officially named the European Recovery Programme) was a post-World War Two package of foreign aid from the US to 16 European countries, to help them rebuild their economies after the war.

In fact, Britain was the single largest recipient of the funds. Out of a total of almost $13bn, Britain was given $2.7bn - a third more than West Germany which received $1.7bn.

Some of this money was used to give a boost to local industries - for example, car manufacturers Ford Motors in Britain were given money to replace the machines needed to make vehicles for export.

A Scottish alcohol production plant was given money to reduce the need to import materials. The raw alcohol was used to make plastic, rayon and pharmaceuticals.

Speaking to the BBC on Monday, Mr Kawczynski defended the post, saying: "The tweet was actually talking about all the things that Britain has done for Europe. Let's not forget we liberated part of Europe in the Second World War.

"Unfortunately, many European countries are not treating us as fairly as Britain has treated Europe over centuries.

"I was trying to get across that Britain has been very fair and very generous."

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