Rita Verdonk, the controversial immigration minister in the last government, has been expelled from the right-wing Liberal party VVD for once again criticising the party leadership. The decision followed a crisis meeting by VVD MPs on Thursday afternoon.
It is beleived that VVD leader Mark Rutte insisted on Verdonk leaving the party. She has been warned several times to toe the party line, ANP said.
Rutte and Verdonk met earlier on Thursday for 30 minutes. After the meeting, Verdonk said her latest remarks about the party had been taken out of context.
In a speech in Utrecht on Wednesday night, Verdonk criticised the way the VVD is being run.
The party is no longer democratic and policy is drawn up by a couple of senior party members, Verdonk was reported as saying.
Verdonk, who made unsuccessful attempts to take over the party leadership before and after last November’s general election, went on to say that the VVD had lost the immigration debate to Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam party PVV.
‘The voter is not being listened to,’ the Telegraaf reported Verdonk as saying. ‘The VVD has become invisible in the immigration debate and we should do something about that.’
Verdonk said it is up to current leader Mark Rutte to raise the party’s profile. ‘That is not my job,’ Verdonk was quoted as saying in the AD newspaper. The former minister is popular with voters and attracted more votes in the November election than Rutte.
Her comments come just days before the VVD holds its annual conference, which will also look at the VVD’s poor election performance.
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