Parliament critical of MP who resigned for Uber; Lobbied for firm

Bart de Liefde (Photo: VVD)Bart de Liefde (Photo: VVD)

VVD parliamentarian Bart de Liefde's resignation from parliament to become a lobbyist for taxi service Uber, is leading to criticism in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch Parliament. According to the Volkskrant, De Liefde regularly expressed his approval for the taxi service as a spokesperson for Competition. 

De Liefde announced his resignation earlier this week. "After twelve years in politics, it is time to take a new path", he said in a statement. He was a councilor in The Hague for four years and a parliamentarian for 5.5 years. He also worked in lobby office Droge en Van Drimmelen.

As spokesperson for Competition for the VVD, De Liefde made a plea for Uber on June 19th 2014, according to the newspaper. "What was done in Berlin and Brussels with a local ban on Uber, has us lifting our eyebrows", he said. "I would like to hear confirmation from the minister that banning Uber at local level is not possible in the Netherlands." A few weeks earlier, he also expressed his enthusiasm for the taxi service on Twitter. "With Uber from Kamer to Home. Good service, neat driver and car. Until Sunday free in The Hague. I say: go for it ;-)", he tweeted.

In his new position at Uber, De LIefde will have to represent the interest of Uber in politics and ministries. According to the taxi service, he will be responsible for explaining the business model and make proposals to politicians in order to make the Uber strategy possible.

"This is not nice", PvdA parliamentarian Lea Bouwmeester said to the newspaper. "One day a minister, the next day working in a top position in the same industry." She recently submitted an initiative to restrict lobbying. She wants the "revolving door" to be regulated. She calls De Liefde's move to Uber a clear example of revolving door behavior. Officials at ministries must adhere to a cooling off period - for two years after their departure, they can not be hired as an external. "For MP's the same principle counts as for ministers", Bouwmeester said. "Also because such change confirms a negative image of politicians."