Rita Verdonk, who heads the nationalist TON party, still has two bodyguards because she is so well-known, justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin told MPs on Thursday night.
Verdonk has had a team of six security guards and has been driven in an armoured car accompanied by a back-up vehicle since 2004 when she was immigration minister with the previous government. The cost of her security is put at €2m a year.
But the threat to her security is now so low that other MPs in the same situation would not get any security at all, Hirsch Ballin said during an emergency debate on Verdonk’s claims that all her security had been scrapped.
On Wednesday Verdonk told a tv show and national newspaper that she has been forced to cancel her fund-raising tour of the country because of uncertainties about her personal safety.
Hirsch Ballin stressed that Verdonk is able to visit other parts of the country and take part in political debate. If dangerous situations arise, security would be reviewed, the minister told MPs.
Earlier in the day, Tjibbe Joustra, head of the anti-terrorism coordination centre NCTb, said his organisation has spoken to Verdonk several times about the reduced risks.
Some MPs are criticial of Verdonk’s decision to go public on her security situation by appearing on national tv.
MPs are also irritated that Verdonk did not hear the end of the debate on her safety because she left parliament to give a tv interview, the Telegraaf reports.
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