Saturday 28 November 2020

21 MPs fail to declare outside interests, Thierry Baudet says rules are ‘nonsense’

The entrance to the parliamentary complex. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Not all Dutch MPs are properly complying with rules requiring them to register their outside interests to ensure no conflict of interest, television current affairs show Zembla said on Wednesday evening.

Of the 150 MPs in the lower house of parliament, 21 have provided incomplete or incorrect information, Zembla said.

The 21 MPs are all registered with the Chamber of Commerce as having a role with a limited company, foundation or association but which is not recorded in the register of private interests. A further eight MPs have reported their outside role but failed to state how much they are paid, which is also required by law.

MPs who do not comply include Thierry Baudet, leader of the far right Forum voor Democratie, who set up a limited company (BV) to administer his income from speeches and books earlier this year.

Baudet told Zembla in a reaction that it is ‘nonsense’ to have to register his other activities. ‘The idea that I could change my opinion about something because someone gave me a bar of chocolate is absurd,’ he said.

Among the other infringements: GroenLinks parliamentarian Bram van Oijk had failed to mention that for seven years he was treasurer of a cooperative which runs private property in France – a position he has since given up.

50Plus MP Leonie Sazias has not reported her links to a bankrupt company, and D66 MP Pia Dijkstra, who is leaving politics next March, had failed to register that she is joint owner of an apartment at a resort in Limburg which is rented out commercially.

In 2018, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body Greco said that the regulation and monitoring of integrity issues in the Dutch parliament was not satisfactory and criticised the lack of a system for supervision and enforcement of the integrity rules.

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