At a parliamentary sitting, Mr. Bagbin contended that constitutional provisions on MPs’ attendance were attendance to Parliament not to the floor of the Chamber.
“Honorable Members, attendance of members is to Parliament not floor of the Chamber of Parliament. The Law Lords who ruled earlier on…most of this ruling are happening because of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court and that is a good reason why I asked for a review.
“The work of a Member of Parliament in Parliament is not restricted to the floor of the chamber. Much of the work of Parliament is done at the committee level and that’s is why when it comes to the time of voting, the bell rings for 10 minutes so that at the committee meetings, members can leave the committee meeting and come and vote.
“You can be on the floor, you can visit the washroom, you can go and attend to your constituents, you are in Parliament. Being in Parliament means being in the precincts of Parliament,” Alban Bagbin ruled.
The ruling by the Speaker has since spilt heads as some MPs particularly those on the Minority caucus say it is problematic.
Adentan Member of Parliament, Mohammed Adamu Ramadan, at the Parliamentary sitting on April 4 raised concerns as to why Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo’s name was marked as present in last Friday’s Votes and Proceedings even though multiple reports had it that she was not in the country.
“Just out of curiosity, page 7, number 225, Sarah Adwoa Safo has been marked as present.
“I don’t know whether the table office is giving effect to the Speaker’s ruling that you don’t have to be physically present in the Chamber to be captured. I don’t know if Adwoa Safo is back in this jurisdiction,” he said.
The presiding Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu in response said the clerks at the table will investigate and any other corrections effected.
Ho West MP, Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah contends that per the status quo MPs are supposed to sign the attendance sheet once MPs enter the Chamber.
He said the current ruling by Alban Bagbin may suggestively leave the Chamber empty.
“It has been Speaker upon Speaker’s conclusion that when you come to the chamber, the first thing you should do is to sign and you Mr. Speaker have said the same thing that for anybody to come to this chamber and go for a Committee meeting, it should not be recorded as being in attendance in the Chamber.
“So for a new ruling that you can be anywhere at all within the premises and you’d be counted as coming to Parliament or be in the Chamber, Mr. Speaker, I think this House must make a decision on this matter. Otherwise, we can all be in our offices and claim that we have come to Parliament,” Mr. Bedzra stated.
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