Dutch PM Rides Bike to King to Offer Resignation Over Child Benefits Scandal

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte cycled over to the Royal Palace of Amsterdam on January 15 to formally offer the king his cabinet’s resignation, after investigations revealed thousands of child-welfare recipients had been wrongly accused of fraud.

In a televised speech, Rutte told Dutch citizens that his government had failed the parents affected.

“The rule of law must protect citizens from an all-powerful government, and that has gone horribly wrong here,” Rutte said, according to a transcript of his speech provided by Google. “At all levels, throughout the political-administrative-legal system, mistakes have been made that have resulted in great injustice to thousands of parents. But the political responsibility ultimately rests with the incumbent cabinet and nowhere else.”

Rutte said the government’s priority would be financial compensation to the affected parents, and an overhaul of the country’s welfare systems. The prime minister said his government would continue in a “caretaker” role until elections take place in mid-March.

Shortly after the speech, Rutte took his bicycle to travel to the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, where he said he would offer “further explanation” to King Willem-Alexander. Credit: Auke van Eijsden via Storyful