After publication of the minutes of the Council of Ministers on the payment affair last night, the question is what the consequences are. What do the documents say about the way in which the Cabinet dealt with MPs and the victims of the payment affair?
“ The minutes do not show any new facts, it is especially the tone that is remarkable,” says political reporter Lars Geerts in the CCEit Radio 1 News. “The Cabinet struggles coalition wide with critical MPs. It is not only Pieter Omtzigt who is addressed, it is also about Helma Lodders of the VVD and other MPs who are critical to the cabinet.”
Geerts also sees a division within the cabinet about whether or not to inform the House of Representatives. “There is a debate about a motion by Omtzigt, among others, asking for a statement of facts. Then you see a struggle between releasing information and the right of civil servants to free exchange of views. Part of the cabinet then says: are we not in trouble with our duty to inform the Chamber? Ultimately, the conclusion is that it is possible.”
end of 2020, the parliamentary interrogation committee led by CDA member of parliament Van Dam concludes in a report that the Chamber has repeatedly received untimely, incomplete and incorrect information and that the provision of information has been motivated in several cases by the desired legal or political outcomes.
“ The Van Dam Commission has drawn the right conclusions about what has happened in the Council of Ministers,” says Geerts. “The committee said to the Cabinet: you should have informed more actively. That is also one of the reasons that the Cabinet eventually resigned.”
Lawyer Eva González Pérez, who has been assisting dozens of parents in the payment affair since 2014, sees in the minutes a confirmation of how her clients have been treated. “They already knew everything and kept my clients waiting.” She calls it contradictory that the Cabinet apologized for the affair, but did not give full disclosure. Today, she sends a letter on behalf of her clients to all group chairmen calling for transparency.
SP leader Marijnissen also sees in the minutes evidence of what was known for a long time: that the Chamber has not been sufficiently informed. “Can we get away with this? , it will be discussed. Renske Leijten of the SP, together with CDAer Pieter Omtzigt, asked for more information and did not receive it. Now it turns out that parents have been in trouble for much longer than necessary.”
In the letter accompanying the letter of the demissionary cabinet to the minutes, Prime Minister Rutte mentions the suggestion that, for political reasons, the Cabinet did not fully inform the Chamber of Parliament “incorrect”.
“ Thats very brutal of Rutte”, Marijnissen reacts. “Just as I think it is brutal that, according to him, nothing injudicious would have been discussed in the Council of Ministers. Now it turns out that they are only busy silencing critical MPs and watching how to memorize the Chambers information. Thats what he calls “nothing unearable.”
Foreign Minister of Great Tit of Social Affairs (D66) resisted yesterday in TV show Op1 against the suggestion that MPs have been actively opposed. “Thats just not true. We do have discussions in the Council of Ministers about political debates: when a State Secretary (D66er Menno Snel, red.) is under attack that you will help. But if you look at my quotes, you see that I am trying to solve the problem and that I see that MPs are arguing among themselves within the coalition.”
fact that MPs of coalition parties, according to Great Tits, have to think about solutions, calls political scientist Peter van der Heiden a “special remark”. “The question is what needs to be solved: the political problem, or the substance problem, namely that of the payment affair with ethnic profiling and the like. Above all, I have the idea that MPs put the cabinet in trouble and were not problem-solving.”
Van der Heiden finds it striking that the minutes show that the motives of MPs are questioned. “They dont assume theyre sitting there to check, but to profile themselves.”
According to political reporter Geerts, it is also clear from the pieces that the sentiment to keep MPs short is widely shared. “The minutes show that Hoekstra and Rutte are both willing to talk to critical MPs and sensitize them. In other words, explaining to them that some things might get the coalition into trouble. Kaag says she has an understanding of critical MPs, but also that when it causes problems, you have to see if you can set up frameworks, which does suggest that the coalitionMPs want to keep within certain lines.”
According to political scientist Van der Heiden, demissionary Prime Minister Rutte gets a little out of the wind through the minutes. “It is now no longer just the Rutte doctrine, but the Rutte-Hoekstra-Kaag doctrine, or the Rutte-Cornerstra-Great Tit doctrine. Its much wider.”
Fierce debate expected
There will be a debate in the Chamber on the Minutes made public on Thursday. “There is a good chance that a motion of censure will be tabled again,” said DINK leader Azarkan last night. “The question is whether that is only against Rutte or against other members of the cabinet as well.”
At the beginning of this month, Rutte barely survived a motion of censure. It was filed against him, after a report of talks showed that he had spoken with the explorers, contrary to what he had said earlier, about the position of Omtzigt. A motion of censure against him was passed.
Lars Geerts expects another fierce debate on Thursday. “Wilders has gone the furthest of all MPs in his criticism. He sent a letter to the President of the Chamber stating that he would like to see a report against all the members of the cabinet for withholding information and allegedly committing an official crime. You will see that tone again in the debate, the only question is whether there is a large group of MPs willing to put a line under the affair, because the protagonists will eventually have to continue with each other and perhaps have to work together in a new cabinet.”