7 Jun 2006

Fiji Labour Party leader still occupying opposition leader's office

9:21 am on 7 June 2006

Fiji's new opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, is still unable to move into the parliamentary office space allocated to him because the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, is refusing to vacate it.

Mr Beddoes says he does not have an issue with Mr Chaudhry but the Speaker, Pita Nacuva, and the secretary general to parliament, Mary Chapman, have the duty of sorting it out.

He says if they cannot do this, they should inform the president and appoint a new opposition leader.

He says there are traditions in parliament that people should observe and not treat the complex as a piece of real estate.

Ms Chapman says Mr Beddoes is now the opposition leader and the office goes with the title.

But Ms Chapman says it is very unfair to expect the secretariat to give orders and Mr Beddoes and Mr Chaudhry should sort it out.

She says she is not some kind of "iron woman" to come between them.

Mr Chaudhry said earlier this week he had 31 members in the House and could not see what the fuss was about.