Extended suspension for mps misbehaving in parliament

The provision to impose eight weeks’ suspension on any member who touches the Mace during the sittings has been included into the new set of Standing Orders of Parliament to be adopted shortly.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on June 7 tabled in Parliament the final drafts of Standing Orders and Code of Conduct for MPs. Circulating the copies among all Parliamentarians, he requested them to go through the drafts and propose any last minute amendments if necessary.

A round-table discussion has been scheduled on June 22 to allow MPs to express their ideas and views on the two drafts. The Speaker said the new Standing Orders would be adopted during the first Parliamentary sitting week of July.

Several incidents of running away with the Mace were reported in Parliament and the last incident was in October 2015 where MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena attempted to grab the Mace and run.

“The Mace is a holy symbol in Parliament and no member is allowed to touch it,” Assistant Secretary-General of Parliament Tikiri Jayathilake said.

The revised Standing Orders have also proposed to set up several new Parliament Committees. The proposed committees include the “Liaison Committee, Backbencher Committee, Legislative Standing Committee, and Committee on Constitutional Affairs”. The scope of Parliament Privileges Committee will also be expanded to include “Ethics”.

The Speaker said the revised Standing Orders has made it compulsory for Ministers to be present in Parliament during the ‘Questions for Oral Answers’ round to reply to matters that come under their purview. The absence of ministers during the question round was a matter frequently raised by the Opposition members.

Stressing the importance of MPs’ attendance, the Speaker pointed out there are some members in COPE who had not attended even a single COPE meeting.

Deputy Serjeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando said the suspension period of Parliamentarians who misbehave in the House has been increased as of the revised Standing Orders. “Earlier the minimum suspension period was one week and many opined it was of no effect. We have increased it up to two weeks,” he said

These views were expressed during a workshop for Parliament correspondents held in Negombo on Saturday. 


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