The parliamentary committee on standards unanimously agreed on Tuesday that far-right Elam MP Andreas Themistokleous had a case to answer after he was accused of verbally abusing a Green party parliamentary assistant last week.
Chaired by House president Annita Demetriou, the committee decided after a 90-minute session to “inform Mr. Themistokleous of its findings in writing and ask him to submit his views within seven days of receiving the letter.”
Demetriou said the committee’s decision will be made public after the case is fully investigated.
Green party parliamentary assistant Efi Xanthou said last Wednesday she had been verbally abused by Themistokleous, who also moved towards her while shouting at her to get out of a House committee meeting.
Xanthou said the incident took place during a session of the House education committee while parties were submitting issues for discussion.
Themistokleous apparently took exception to the many proposals filed by the Greens and started bad mouthing the party leader Charalambos Theopemptou.
Xanthou, the party’s deputy chairperson and Theopemptou’s parliamentary assistant, put her hand up to respond in the absence of a Greens MP.
This, she said, apparently angered Themistokleous even more and he demanded that she was kicked out of the room.
It is commonplace for smaller parties like the Greens who have three MPs, to have their parliamentary assistants sit in committees so that they can follow more discussions and be briefed of any important matters.
Themistokleous said he took issue not with Xanthou personally, but with the fact she was not an MP and therefore had no right to speak during the meeting.
“I repeatedly asked her in what capacity she was speaking, because in any case, a parliamentary assistant is someone who, during a House committee meeting, does not institutionally exist”.
He also refuted claims it was a personal attack against Xanthou, saying that his reaction “would have been the same regardless of who was in the room”, as “Parliament is not a playground”.