Leader of the Opposition McKeeva Bush took aim at Speaker of the House Edna Moyle during his debate on the budget Wednesday.
The comments came near the end of Mr. Bush’s debate, and he began the segment of his address by telling Mrs. Moyle she could take the comments anyway she liked.
‘In the management of the Assembly, from what I observe, there is far too much upheaval,’ he said. ‘The good long-term staff is upset and the Clerk [of the Legislative Assembly Wendy Lauer] is pushed around.’
Mr. Bush said he could not say Ms. Moyle was not a good Speaker of the House.
‘But from where I sit, she is far too friendly with her party and she is not the clerk.’
Government back bench MLA Lucille Seymour said Friday that Mr. Bush’s comments constituted a breach of parliamentary privilege and demanded that the Leader of the Opposition apologise to Mrs. Moyle.
‘Why must an elected member breach privilege to chastise you in your chair in this hallowed house?’ Ms Seymour asked. ‘I never thought I would see that.’
Earlier in the debate, Mr. Bush had criticised the People’s Progressive Movement for not being forthright about Mrs. Moyle holding the position as speaker.
‘From the day they took office in 2005, she was supposed to be temporary, at longest 18 months in the post, but she is still there today,’ he said.
Mr. Bush said the clerk, deputy clerk and staff of the Legislative Assembly were supposed to run the affairs of the House.
‘The job of the speaker is to sit when the House is meeting and to run the elected business of this House according to the standing orders of this house,’ he said, repeating afterwards that Mrs. Moyle was not the clerk.
‘This is the Legislative Assembly where government’s majority has no more say than the minority, except in the matter of a vote or a committee of this honourable House,’ he said. ‘But not one of them, inclusive of the Speaker, should be treated as if they own this Assembly.’
Mr. Bush said Legislative Assembly staff had been ‘pushed around and treated shabbily’ since May 2005, when Mrs. Moyle took over as Speaker.
‘This House is not the fiefdom of the PPM or anyone else for that matter,’ he said. ‘There is too much strife, bickering, insulting and simply, interference, where there is no need for it.’
Mr. Bush praised the whole Legislative Assembly staff for their hard work. He said someone needed to look seriously about what was happening in the Legislative Assembly.
‘I have been here 24 years and I sat up in the gallery for years before that… and I cannot agree with what is happening here today.’
Ms Seymour said she took umbrage at Mr. Bush’s comments and said she would confer with her colleagues about ‘where we go from here.’
‘This house is not the fiefdom of the PPM,’ Ms Seymour said. ‘Is that the job of the members to come here and chastise the speaker?’
‘In this house, where the act was committed, there need to be an apology.’
Mr. Bush rose during Ms Seymour’s comments and attempted to make a point of order. However, Mrs. Moyle ruled that he had no point to make and merely wanted to argue Ms Seymour’s statements.
Mrs. Moyle then asked the Opposition Leader to sit down, shortly after which he stormed from the chamber shouting; ‘she (referring to Mrs. Moyle) needs to be a good speaker!’