Thursday 20 January 2022

Coronavirus critic Mona Keijzer turns down chance to return as MP

Mona Keijzer before her sacking as junior economic affairs minister. Photo: Rijksoverheid

Former junior economics minister Mona Keijzer has ruled out returning to parliament following the appointment of the new cabinet on Monday.

Keijzer, a former Christian Democrat MP, was sacked by Mark Rutte in September for publicly criticising the last cabinet’s coronavirus policy.

Under election rules, Keijzer was entitled to take the seat vacated by CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra when he became foreign affairs minister because of her position on the party’s election list.

In a statement on Monday, Keijzer said she still had concerns about the government’s pandemic strategy, but would not be taking up the seat as an independent member. Had she done so, it would have cut the coalition’s majority to two seats and brought the number of factions in parliament to 20.

Keijzer said ‘many people’ had urged her to return to the debating chamber, but she had decided to play an ‘active, independent role’ outside parliament.

‘My view about the coronavirus policy have not changed,’ she wrote. ‘Restrictions have not destroyed the virus, but they have harmed many other things that are precious to all of us.

‘The coronavirus restrictions have been tightened since September, in ways which I think are ill thought out and in places disproportionate. The misery this causes is growing by the day. I am glad to read and hear increasing numbers of people call for us to “learn to live with the virus”.’

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