Speaking ban for critical Dutch MPs denied

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Two Dutch MPs have denied they were banned from speaking in public by the leadership of their Christian Democrat party CDA.

They drew the ire of their party superiors when they told reporters earlier this week that they would "reveal the true face" of Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders, whose anti-Islam party is holding the keys to a new rightwing government.

MPs Ad Koppejan and Kathleen Ferrier are opposed to the coalition agreed with the free-market liberal VVD party, because it relies on crucial outside support by the anti-Islam Freedom Party. Together the three parties have a minimal one-seat majority in the Lower House.

The two MPs earlier reluctantly agreed to vote the new government in, but reserved the right to be critical about Mr Wilders and his party's utterances, arguing that a third of party members at the Christian Democrat party congress shared their views. Mr Koppejan confirmed to reporters that he and Ms Ferrier were summoned by the CDA leadership after their critical remarks about the Freedom Party leader, but stressed that he was free to speak.

"I retracted nothing. It's true, we've been critical in the media these past few days. People had better get used to that, including Mr Wilders. It's bound to happen again over the next few years. And now, back to my work in the House," critical MP Ad Koppejan said on his website.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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