Chief Whip denies, demands apology

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Chief Government Whip of Parliament Prasanna Ranatunga denied independent MP Nalaka Godahewa’s claims that he was not given enough time to debate at the voting for proclamation of the state of emergency in Parliament on 27 July, alleging that it was baseless and false.

Ranatunga said in a letter to Godahewa that as a responsible politician, this false statement should be corrected.

In the letter, it was stated that Godahewa said during a press conference on 28 July that neither he nor the independent MPs in Parliament were given the opportunity to express their views during the vote on the proclamation of the state of emergency. He had stated that he had asked Ranatunga for the time through one of his secretaries.

In response, Ranatunga noted that he had not received such a request from Godahewa or one of his secretaries.

“With the appointment of then-Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as President on 21 July, the position of Prime Minister became vacant. Because the Cabinet was also dissolved, the positions of Leader of the House and Chief Government Whip were abolished,” he explained.

As a result, Ranatunga, who claims that he was not the Chief Government Whip from 21 to 26 July, claims that he was nominated for the position of Chief Government Whip again on 26 July.

“The prevailing parliamentary tradition is to obtain the list of names expected to comment on the subjects to be debated during that parliamentary week at the ruling party group meeting held prior to the parliamentary session. As a result, the list of speakers expected to comment on the emergency law debate scheduled for 27 July was obtained at the ruling party group meeting on 26 July, and Godahewa did not include his name,” he said.

As a result, Ranatunga emphasised that no formal request from Godahewa was received to comment.