MPs agree to new rules on language after threatening behaviour rows

The Dutch parliamentary complex. Photo:
The parliamentary complex in The Hague. Photo:

MPs have agreed to make intimidation and threats against fellow parliamentarians a formal reason to stop the perpetrator from taking part in debates.

The new rules were put forward by parliamentary chairwoman Vera Bergkamp, who was heavily criticised earlier this year for failing to tackle MPs who threatened or insulted others during debates.

During Wednesday’s debate on the new rules, MPs from across the political spectrum urged Bergkamp to intervene more often, as long as freedom of speech remains paramount.

‘Freedom of speech has nothing to do with insulting people,’ Bergkamp said. ‘It is insults and spreading manipulated videos about certain MPs on social media as some parties do which is smothering freedom of speech. MPs have said to me privately that there are some things they no longer dare to say.’

The far right PVV did not take part in the discussion about the new rules or the debate. Its leader Geert Wilders was criticised for the language he used against two Muslim MPs earlier this year.

The far right Forum voor Democratie has also come under fire after its MPs threatened others with ‘tribunals’.

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