Pheu Thai 'renegades' face chop

Pheu Thai 'renegades' face chop

Seven MPs who voted for govt budget bill get marching orders

Seven "renegade" Pheu Thai Party MPs who voted for the 2023 budget bill have been kicked out of the party's Line group and will also face an ethical probe likely leading to their expulsion.

Wisut Chainaroon, an MP for Phayao who sits on the party's ethics committee, said on Saturday the seven MPs had not taken part in party activities and it is likely they will abandon the party at the next election.

"The party will meet on Tuesday and I will propose setting up a committee to launch an ethical probe which will pave the way for the party to expel them," Mr Wisut said.

A source said Pheu Thai secretary-general Prasert Chantararuangthong sent a message to members of the Line group saying the "disloyal" MPs had been removed from all Pheu Thai's social media accounts and the party will raise the issue at a meeting of an ethical inquiry panel.

The 2023 budget bill passed its first reading in the early hours of Friday morning with 278 votes in favour and 194 against.

All coalition MPs voted for the bill including those in the faction under Capt Thamanat Prompow of the Settakij Thai Party, whose support for Gen Prayut had been in doubt.

Seven opposition MPs from the Pheu Thai Party and four from the Move Forward Party also voted in favour of the bill after a first reading.

The initial passage of the budget bill was said by some observers to be a key first step in the government's bid to remain in power.

The seven Pheu Thai MPs who voted for the bill included three from the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket, namely Chaturong Pengnorapat, Theera Taisaranakul and Pongsri Saejueng, who are now expected to jump ship to the coalition Bhumjaithai Party.

The four others were Chakrapat Chaiyasan, whose seat is in the Northeast's Udon Thani province, Niyom Changpinit of Phitsanulok in the North, Wuthichai Kittithanesuan from the Central province of Nakhon Nayok and Suchart Pinyo, whose constituency is in Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast.

A 72-member committee was set up to scrutinise the bill.

Peerawit Ruengluedolapak, a list MP of the Thai Rak Tham Party, yesterday denied the government had offered micro parties a "bonus" for their support, in reference to rumoured appointments to the House committee scrutinising the bill.

He said the seats on the committee are already part of a quota which small parties are entitled to receive.

Mr Niyom, one of the seven MPs, said that he disagreed with Pheu Thai's decision to vote against the bill, saying he believes it to be in the public interest.

Asked about his future, Mr Niyom admitted he will defect to join the Bhumjaithai Party, and would have no objection if the party expels him.

Mr Chakrapat, another of the seven "renegades", said that traditionally opposition parties would not vote against the budget and would instead abstain to show disapproval.

However, Pheu Thai had this time decided to ignore the custom.

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