It appears from the minutes of the Council of Ministers that there was talk of critical MPs within the chambers. One of them is former MPs Helma Lodders (VVD). Together with Pieter Omtzigt (CDA) and Renske Leijten (SP) designated by Minister Wouter Koolmees of Social Affairs (D66) as “activist spokesman for a coalition fraction”.
Lodders responds today: “That is a bit of a scare of course. That you read that you belong to the activist MPs. Yes, I think that‘s intense.” But Lodders is clear: “To be critical, that’s what I‘ve been paid for all these years.” By the way, her departure from politics was her own choice.
As a member of parliament, she was involved in agriculture, among others the Tax Administration and the pension system. In her eleven years as a member of parliament, she asked more than 300 questions. “I am typed in the minutes and I do not recognize myself in that. As a representative of the people of the country, you will support the people of the country. Which means I went looking for answers to questions. If they find it activistic. I think the Cabinet should give those answers.”
However, the former politician has never experienced pressure from her party or from party leader Mark Rutte. However, she thinks that the Minutes say that the focus is not on solving citizens’ problems.
Pressured in different ways
Kathleen Ferrier (CDA) also draws on her own experience when she says: “It‘s about the administrators again. And not about the citizens, who it should be about. Our entire democratic system is under pressure. If there is no power and counterpower, if public administration does not protect society and vulnerable individuals, then it does not function. Of course, you have to be difficult, which is why you were elected as a representative of the It must be about the interests of the citizen, and that is not the case now.”
Ferrier formed a dissident couple in their party together with colleague Ad Koppejan, also a member of the CDA. Together they are committed to the young Angolan Mauro Manuel who would be expelled from the Netherlands. Their commitment to this case was against the bad leg of the CDA Party Summit, because the two were critical of the CDA Minister Gerd Leers of Immigration and Asylum.
“ We had to follow the line of the group. But we, as the CDA VVD government, had tolerated support from the PVV. And that party introduced a political culture that does not fit our Dutch democracy. So I resisted it. But I was not allowed to vote against the group line and stick to my own position. I was put under pressure in every possible way.” Ferrier decided not to return as a member of parliament after a new election.
Former PVDA MP Rob Oudkerk is also an expert of experience. He was pressured by his own group chairman, Ad Melkert, when, 22 years ago, as a member of the Committee of Inquiry into the Bijlmer disaster, he drew conclusions which, according to Melkert, would have far-reaching political consequences. “I was told: ‘if you do not soften the conclusions, we will not support those conclusions‘.”
Oudkerk: “Our final report contained the truth: the Chamber was misinformed. But I was told that the importance of maintaining the cabinet (led by PVDA Prime Minister Wim Kok, red) was greater than the importance of the report on the Bijlmerdisaster. Fellow MPs, such as Adri Duivesteijn, who wanted to support the conclusions, were put under pressure on ‘Sicilian way‘. Melkert said to him: ‘Adri we have always supported you, and we would like to continue to do‘. It was like The Godfather.”
He doesn’t believe anything will change. “Obviously, it is not desirable for you as a coalition colleague to criticise. I think that is detrimental to democracy and undesirable. They will now put in the coalition agreement that they will do it all differently, new governance style, but forget it.”
Ferrier believes that the House of Representatives should form a strong counter-power. “Critical MPs with a different vision should not be limited in their space. That undermines democracy. It should not be about keeping the ranks closed anymore. All parties must take a thorough look at their own functioning.”
On Thursday, the Chamber is debating the minutes with the demissionary cabinet. “There is a good chance that a motion of censure will be tabled again,” said DINK leader Farid Azarkan last night. In a letter to the chairman of the House of Representatives, PVV leader Geert Wilders writes that, on the basis of the minutes, his group concludes that the members of the Council of Ministers should be prosecuted under criminal law.
At the beginning of this month, Rutte barely survived a motion of censure. He was filed against him, after a report of conversation revealed that he had with the scouts, contrary to what he had said earlier, about the position of MP OmtzigtSpoken. A motion of censure was passed.