Green party chairman, MP resign over secret love affair

GroenLinks party chairman Marjolein Meijer and parliamentarian Rik Grashoff resigned with immediate effect on Tuesday after acknowledging that they lied about when they started a secret relationship with one another, ANP reports.

Last week the GroenLinks party management already admonished Meijer and Grashoff fort concealing their relationship. The two then stated that they had been together since April 2017. On Tuesday, however, the party found out that the two started their relationship at the end of 2016 - before the parliamentary elections in March last year. GroenLinks released a statement calling this a "breach of trust" and accusing Meijer and Grashoff of not "putting the full truth on the table".

After their relationship became known last week, Meijer stepped out of the committee that conducts performance interviews with the party's parliamentarians. Grashoff announced that he would not return to the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, after his current term. With these steps, the party considered the matter settled. But now that it turned out their relationship had gone on longer than they claimed, Meijer and Grashoff decided to resign with immediate effect. Meijer gave in her resignation as party chairman and Grashoff made his parliamentary seat available, according to the news wire. 

Party leader Jesse Klaver reacted with disappointment in an email sent to GroenLinks members. "In a close-knit team that fights for common ideals, you have to be able to trust each other blindly and be sure that someone is telling the truth." According to Klaver, while talking to the party management last week, Meijer and Grashoff indicated that they told the whole story. "If it then turns out that the full truth is not on the table, that the relationship started earlier, trust is broken."

Grashoff was a parliamentarian for GroenLinks from 2010 to 2012, and then he returned to the Kamer in 2015. Between 2012 and 2015 he was party chairman. Meijer took over from him in 2015.