A Conservative MP told a one-legged drug addict in a wheelchair begging outside Parliament to ‘get a job’.
The Daily Mail reports that Daniel Kawczynski ‘admonished’ the man for begging and told him that help was available to people in his situation through a Government scheme.
Mr Kawczynski was heard saying to Mark McGuigan, “get a job, find some work. Yes, I know it is hard, I have struggled too.”
Speaking about the incident, which reportedly occurred on 7 October outside Westminster underground station, Mr McGuigan said that the 6ft 8in ministerial aide made him feel small and humiliated, before adding that he had spoken out in order to ‘name and shame’ Mr Kawczynski.
Speaking to the newspaper, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham said that he only wanted to help the man back into work, before adding: “There are better and more productive ways for helping people spend their time.”
Describing what happened, Mr McGuigan, from Bermondsey, South London, said, “He told me to stop begging and to get a job. He made me feel really small. He was so sanctimonious.
“I can’t get a job. I can barely read and write. Look at me, I am missing a leg. I said that to him but he just started getting more and more aggressive. It was horrible.
“I felt very intimidated by the way he was leaning over me saying, ‘Get a job, get a job’. He was towering over me.”
Mr Kawczynski, an aide to Welsh Secretary David Jones, said he did not recall using the words attributed to him but added that he did think a man asking him for money should be challenged on why he was not looking for work.
“He asked me for money so I asked him what he was doing to find a job. He said, ‘I can’t get a job'”, Mr Kawczynski said.
“He had difficulties in literacy and numeracy. I told him there were Government initiatives to help him with this. I said to him, ‘If you let me know where you live I can help’.”
Mr McGuigan, a father of one who grew up in Peckham in south London told the paper of his family background, adding, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth like most MPs.
“My parents were alcoholics, my brothers were burglars, my sisters were on the drink at an early age. My mother had six kids to look after, and I was the youngest. We didn’t have a bath, we had an outside toilet.”
The paper reports that Mr McGuigan’s drinking and drug use began when he was 17 years old. His leg had to be amputated ten years ago after he contracted septicemia from heroin use.
- Why Tory MPs should never tell beggars to ‘get a job’ (metro.co.uk)