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No faith motion against FM: Parliamentary Select Committee should verify contents - PM

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ranil1 media conferenceA Parliamentary Select Committee has to be set up to verify if the contents of the No Confidence Motion moved against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake were true, before the same is taken up by Parliament, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament yesterday.

The Premier said the government was ready to do so, responding to the Point of Order raised by opposition member Vasudeva Nanayakkara querying as to when the No Confidence Motion was to be taken up in Parliament. The motion was moved alleging that the allocation for education included in the budget proposals was not genuine.

“It should be investigated as to which government in reality cut allocations for education. We can study this at a Parliamentary Select Committee,” Premier Wickremesinghe said and then challenged the opposition members saying: “If it was under your regime, would you resign from being parliamentarians?”

The Premier also questioned if the previous government allocated money for education in the Northern Province.

At this stage, Leader of the House and Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the No Confidence Motion against the Finance Minister was based on matters pertaining to the Budget proposals and as the same has been passed by a two thirds majority at the Second Reading, the No Confidence Motion is null and void.

He also brought to the notice of the House that former President and Kurunegala district MP Mahinda Rajapaksa had not signed the No Confidence motion.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that the matter was discussed at the Party Leaders’ Meeting on Monday and agreed to take up the same next year.

At this stage, the Prime Minister said the budget is a means to express confidence in the government.

“If the budget is defeated , the Prime Minister as well as the Cabinet of Ministers have to resign,”, Premier Wickremesinghe said. The Prime Minister said when the budget proposals are presented by the Finance Minister, it is a document of the government.

He added the government has time to make amendments to the same document during the Second and Third Readings.

“Thereafter one can vote for or against. But, a No Confidence motion cannot be moved against the Finance Minister based on the same,” the Premier said. “When the same document was passed with a two thirds majority, how could you move a No Confidence Motion”. He said due to this situation a Parliamentary Select Committee should be set up on this matter.

The Prime Minister suggested to grant one month to the Committee to study and report.

At this stage JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the government’s stance is the No Confidence Motion cannot be moved as the budget is being debated.

MEP leader and Opposition MP Dinesh Gunawardena said that it was agreed at the Party Leaders’ meeting to grant a day for the No Confidence Motion. Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that since the budget proposals have been passed with a two thirds majority, the No Confidence Motion is null and void.