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Are MPs elected to campaign or make laws? Loh rebuffs MPs’ protests

parliamentThe Vice Chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Committee of Parliament has defended the decision to hold Members of Parliament in the House despite calls to proceed on vacation.

George Loh said the MPs have a basic and constitutional duty which is to make laws and they should be ready to sacrifice part of the period of vacation to undertake that duty.

A number of MPs are disappointed over the decision by the House to extend sittings to approve the Constitutional Instrument for the 2016 elections.

The House was expected to rise on July 29 but with the avalanche of work before it, members have been asked to sacrifice part of their vacation period in order for them to approve the Constitutional provisions for the 2016 elections.

That call has angered some MPs who believe they have a duty to perform in their constituencies and the periods of vacation is the best period to do that.

Bekwai MP Joseph Osei Owusu, said to disrupt their vacation is to disrupt their plans to campaign and to visit their constituents.

He said it is during vacation periods that they visit communities.

“I have 116 towns and villages and the only time to visit them is during vacation and to do the things that i couldn’t do whilst Parliament was in session,” he stated.

He said the timing for this disruption is even worse because with only four months to elections the MPs have to campaign in their constituencies in order to be retained.

He said if the Electoral Commission had brought the bills to Parliament early on, perhaps they would have dealt with them without any disruption to their vacation.

But in an interview with Joy News’ Evans Mensah,  the Vice Chair of the Constitutional and Legal Committee of Parliament George Loh asked if MPs are elected to campaign or make laws.

He was convinced that the MPs place is in the House and to make laws and that leadership can, depending on the exigencies of the time,  ask members to stay and complete the job in the House before proceeding on vacation.

He explained that even though the House is expected to close at 2:00pm there are occasions when members have been asked to stay on till 12:00 midnight.

“We are masters of our own rules and we can choose to rise at any time,” he said.

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