Tweede Kamer leader to address MP’s threatening colleagues
Tweede Kamer president Vera Bergkamp wants to talk to the political parties about their manners during debates. The reason is statements by MPs for Forum voor Democratie. FvD parliamentarian Pepijn van Houwelingen "crossed the line" on Wednesday, Berkamp said. Van Houwelinge threatened with "tribunals." "Your time will come," he shouted at D66 parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma in the large conference room.
"Threats and intimidation in whatever form are out of the question," said the president of the lower house of Dutch parliament. "I find it unacceptable in the plenary hall. We have to draw a line here." Bergkamp said in a statement that she is concerned about parliament. "Emotions are increasingly running high, and that does not always benefit the debate. Freedom of expression is great, but opinions must be exchanged in a decent way. We urgently need to do something about this."
Bergkamp will talk to all political parties about how "we interact with each other in debates" and "how best to reverse the dynamics in the debate." She hopes that "we as elected representatives of the people can conduct the debate in a good way with respect for each other's opinions - which may differ, of course. And that we opt for the substantive debate and leave out qualifications that do not serve the debate but make it impossible." The president of the Kamer does not think this is good for the reputation of parliament. "I cannot turn this tide on my own. We have to do this together. It will take time because the debate has been becoming harsher for years, but I feel a responsibility as president to get the conversation started."
According to Bergkamp, vice-president Ockje Tellegen, who led the debate on Wednesday, acted well. Tellegen intervened ad Sjoerdsma's request, then suspended the debate twice and addressed the FvD parliamentarian about his threat.
Previously, Gideon van Meijeren (also FvD) said he is "proud" of Forum supporters who send intimidating emails to other MPs. Thierry Baudet's party is also increasingly claiming there's a connection between the persecution of the Jews and the Cabinet's approach to the coronavirus.
Reporting by ANP.