Saturday 04 December 2021

Geert Wilders gives controversial MP a second chance, despite convictions

Geert Wilders has decided not to expel MP Eric Lucassen from the party, despite his criminal convictions, the PVV leader said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

Last week it emerged Lucassen has a conviction for having sex with a female army recruit while he was a sergeant and has been accused of threatening and intimidating his neighbours.
In his statement, Wilders stressed Lucassen has not been convicted of threatening behaviour. Lucassen has admitted being fined twice for ‘breaking the law’ and was found guilty of sexual offences in 2002. The statement did not give any details about the two fines.
But there is no question Lucassen actually sexually abused young army recruits while he was an officer, Wilders said. ‘It was an inappropriate relationship… Lucassen admits he made a serious mistake,’ Wilders’ statement said.
Lucassen was embarassed about the position he had put the party in by keeping quite about his past during the selection procedure to become an MP and has apologised to all involved, Wilders said.
Although Lucassen can remain in parliament, he will no longer speak on behalf of the PVV on defence or neighbourhood policy issues, Wilders said.
Lucassen’s position is crucial for the minority government which is propped up by PVV support to give it a majority of just one in parliament.
A spokesman for the VVD, one of the two parties which make up the government, said the claims are a matter for the PVV.
But CDA sources told the NRC they are concerned about both the stability and reputation of the cabinet if it has to depend on someone with a criminal record for its survival.
Opposition MPs have called on prime minister Mark Rutte to explain how the Lucassen case affects the stability and reputation of the cabinet.
‘This is the fourth PVV MP to come under scrutiny because of violence or threats and the fourth time they get off without serious repercussions,’ said Labour MP Martijn van Dam.’
Rutte has said repeatedly it is an ‘internal matter for the PVV’.
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