Dutch MP with criminal record allowed to stay on
An MP of the Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party has apologised to his party for the embarrassment caused by the revelation that he had been found guilty of sexual misconduct in 2002. Party leader Geert Wilders earlier said he felt 'unfairly treated' by MP Eric Lucassen, who failed to report his criminal past before the party's selection committee.
It was impossible, however, for Mr Wilders to expel Mr Lucassen from the parliamentary group, as that would have destroyed the minimal one-seat majority supporting the current right-wing cabinet. The Freedom Party was instrumental in forging the coalition and is providing make-or-break support to the two-party cabinet of free-market Liberals and Chistian Democrats. As a sanction, the party leader deprived Mr Lucassen of his position as party spokesman on Neighbourhood Improvement and Defence.
Detention The MP, a former army instructor, admitted that he was fined twice for threatening and intimidating his neighbours, and served one week in military detention for sexual misconduct involving two female recruits under his command. In a statement by the Freedom Party Mr Lucassen is quoted as saying he made a huge mistake, "being deeply ashamed about this and offering his apologies to the Freedom Party and the people involved in the cases which were revealed last week".
The revelations about Mr Lucassen's misconduct were particularly embarrassing because the Freedom Party is strong on law and order and on eradication of what it calls 'street terror'.
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