Zuid-Limburgse MP steps down amid accusations of inappropriate behaviour towards minors
Updated: Apr 30, 2021
Heerlen-born D66 member Sidney Smeets is stepping down as a Tweede Kamerlid (Minister of Parliament). Smeets was discredited this week by accusations of inappropriate sexual advances towards underage boys.
As reported by Dutch provincial broadcaster 1Limburg:
Over the past few days, stories have emerged from young men who said that Smeets, who was born in Heerlen and grew up in Valkenburg, had approached them online. It is reported that Smeets, now 45, approached the young men via Twitter, Facebook and gay dating app Grindr. For some of the men, the contact would have taken place when they were minors.
Smeets is said to have made inappropriate comments about young people on Twitter. He acknowledges having made contact with young men, but denies having crossed the line.
"I am shocked by the messages that have been sent about me. In some messages I read that people experienced contact with me as unwanted. I find that very unpleasant, because that was not my intention. To the best of my knowledge I have always behaved within the laws that apply in the Netherlands."
In a statement, Smeets said that he wanted to avoid:
"damaging the reputation of the House and the interests of the party. Therefore, after consulting with Sigrid Kaag, I have informed the Speaker of the House that I am resigning from my seat and resigning as a Member of Parliament with immediate effect".
D66 party leader Kaag says she "fully" respects and supports Smeets' decision.
Lawyer Gerard Spong doesn't know whether Sidney Smeets, who has resigned from the Lower House, can return to his law firm. Smeets is formally connected to Spong's office as a criminal lawyer until 1 May. Spong does not know whether Smeets is still welcome. "That's under consideration, also because he has already given notice on 1 May," he says. "There are very important interests. My reputation and the reputation of the firm are at stake, so I'm going to brood on it in the coming time."
Read the original article in Dutch on the 1Limburg website.
Photo: Sidney Smeets | Wikimedia Commons 2021