'PvdA MPs Feel Ignored by Samsom on JSF Purchase'
THE HAGUE, 20/09/13 - A large number of Labour (PvdA) MPs feel they have been ignored by party leader Diederik Samsom with the cabinet decision to buy Joint Strike Fighters (JSF). The matter is being discussed internally on Friday, De Volkskrant newspaper reported.
The MPs of the coalition party are ‘not amused’ that Samsom agreed to the purchase of 37 JSF fighter aircraft without first discussing this in the party, the paper concludes from talks with nine PvdA MPs. “We have not yet voted on the JSF in the party. There is much discontent that the cabinet has already decided on it,” said an unnamed MP in the paper.
The MPs want to bring up their disquiet on Friday during an extra party meeting. Some are considering requesting a vote. “A vote is not good for the mutual relations, but this is such a sensitive topic that it is desirable,” said one MP. “I do not rule out quite a fair number of colleagues being against it.”
On 3 July, two days before the summer recess, a core group of the cabinet, including Premier Mark Rutte and PvdA Ministers Frans Timmermans and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, decided on the purchase of the JSF. The next day, a “big commotion” arose over this in a PvdA party meeting, according to some of those present. A large majority were at the time against a decision to purchase the plane, according to De Volkskrant.
Because there was no decision, the subject was put on the agenda for a party weekend in Friesland in August. This failed because the foreign affairs spokespeople were unable to attend. This week, the cabinet made the decision known officially.