Labour senator resigns over negative publicity

Marleen Barth, PvdA leader in the Eerste Kamer, announced her resignation on Thursday. She decided to step down because she no longer wants to burden the PvdA with negative publicity about her, she said, according to RTL Nieuws.

Barth came under fire when she did not attend the Senate debate on a new donor law on Tuesday, because she was on holiday in the Maldeves. Before that she also made headlines when it was revealed that she and her husband, former Wassenaar mayor Jan Hoekema (D66), arranged to live in the mayor's official residence in Wassenaar at a reduced rent after Hoekema's departure as mayor. 

"I very much regret that so much upheaval has arisen about my absence", Barth said in a statement on Thursday. "I made the wrong decision. Especially since last week there were negative reports in the press about an email I wrote to the municipality of Wassenaar last year. I am very sorry that these two issues together are now throwing negative light on the party that I have been active in for so long and with so much love."

Barth was PvdA leader in the Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, for almost seven years. Andre Postema, deputy leader of the PvdA faction in the Senate, will take over her position for the time being. Her seat will be filled by Wouter van Zandbrink.

PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher announced that he understands this difficult decision Barth made. "Over the past years she worked very passionately in various positions in the party. I appreciate that."