Labour leader’s role in childcare subsidy scandal has members calling for resignation
Labour party (PvdA) leader Lodewijk Asscher’s apology for his role in the childcare subsidy scandal sent shockwaves through his party. Critical members are skeptical about whether or not he should remain in his position as party leader.
Asscher was the Minister of Social Affairs between 2012 and 2017 when many parents were wrongly identified in profiling cases as being likely to attempt to defraud the Dutch Tax Authorities through false benefits claims. Last week, a scathing report into the multi-year political scandal, which left some families in ruins, found that, among other things, the rule of law had been violated and that parents had been done “unprecedented injustice.”
Asscher publicly apologized on Facebook for his role in the scandal on Sunday. “The observations about my own role in this are painful and fill me with shame,” he writes.
His role has sparked significant outrage within the PvdA. In an internal group app of the PvdA, Parliamentarians and candidates in the upcoming General Election raise the question of whether Asscher can still credibly continue as party leader.
Politics is about trust and credibility, one MP writes. Asscher should be responsible and leave, he thinks. “It is very difficult to explain what happened in the subsidy affair and the role Asscher played in it,” says one member.
RTL Nieuws had access to several PvdA group chat messages in which this topic is being discussed feverishly. The news outlet says that MPs argue Asscher is actually partly responsible for the “unprecedented injustice” and misery and, therefore, cannot continue.
The knives are being sharpened, says a PvdA member. “His position is at stake.” Asscher must face his responsibility and leave, says another MP. “It would be good if he did not wait for others.”