VVD group chairman Sophie Hermans has collided with a large part of the House of Representatives in the debate on the revealed cabinet minutes on the payment affair. Hermans said that these minutes do not show that the Cabinet has withheld information from the Chamber for political reasons.
That was against the sore leg of most opposition parties. They pointed out that the Van Dam Committee, which investigated the payment affair, had already found on the basis of those minutes that information had been withheld for political reasons. The whole House of Representatives, including the VVD, endorsed the conclusions of the committee.
However, according to Hermans, the statement of demissionary Prime Minister Rutte last week that ‘nothing unbearable ‘has happened. “Certain information has not been shared for reasons that we can follow. But those were not political reasons. The refusal should have been better motivated, but there has been no cover-up,” said Hermans.
Consequences on other dossiers
Parties such as SP, Think, Party for the Animals, JA21 and PvdA reacted angry because it says in the minutes that the Cabinet decided not to send a statement of facts to the Chamber, because that would have major consequences for other files. “How can you not read political reasons in that?” , asked MP Nicki Pouw-Verweij of JA21.
According to PVV leader Geert Wilders, Hermans‘s comments prove that she is still “the bag carrier” of Prime Minister Rutte. In the past, she was his political assistant. And that’s how she‘s still acting, says Wilders:
Hermans further referred to the way in which the cabinet spoke of MPs “ugly and inappropriate”. Above all, she wants Prime Minister Rutte to distance herself from the remark of VVD-Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen that Coalition MPs should not have a clearer opinion than opposition MPs.
Think-group chairman Farid Azarkan immediately tabled a motion of censure against the demissionary cabinet. That is a unique one, as far as we know, there has never been a vote of no confidence against a cabinet that has already resigned. According to Azarkan, Rutte III broke the law. The motion was co-signed by PVV leader Geert Wilders who called the cabinet a “political mafia” and by Forum voor Democracy, BBB and BIJ1.
Jetten: whipped fuss
Many opposition parties also showed a lack of understanding for the actions of another coalition partner, D66. MP Rob Jetten said little news to read in the published minutes. According to him, most of it was already in the documents that the Van Dam Committee was allowed to see and were also in the report of that committee. “We have to guard from the whipped fuss,” said Jetten.
Jetten also interrumpted the chairman of the PVDA group, Lilianne Ploumen, who said that the cabinet was particularly afraid of setting precedents and was busy keeping critical MPs under control. Hypocrite, Jetten said, because in the past Pvda’ers were also pressured by their own party not to be too critical. “This culture has existed for much longer, even for this cabinet, when the PvdA was still in government.”
Ploumen called it a diversion by Jetten, so as not to mention the real problems. “Do you want to go back to Adam and Eve?” Ploumen responded.
The debate is expected to last all day.