(MENAFN - Jordan Times) A fierce exchange of accusations erupted in the Lower House on Sunday, prompting several deputies to walk out in protest against Speaker Abdul Karim Dughmi's "severe attack" against one of their colleagues.
At the beginning of yesterday's session, Dughmi gave a "clarifying and defensive" speech in which he responded to "allegations and insults" made by MP Bassam Haddadin (Zarqa).
Although Dughmi did not mention Haddadin by name, he referred to a "subjective, prejudiced and insulting" article by the Zarqa MP that was published in a local newspaper on Saturday.
In the article in Al Ghad, Haddadin criticised Dughmi for using an "authoritarian tone" and involving the House in the country's power struggles.
Last week, the House issued a statement criticising Abdul Latif Arabiyat, president of the Muslim Brotherhood shura council, for his "unfair and inaccurate statement about the Chamber of Deputies", after he criticised the Lower House in an interview with a local weekly newspaper.
"It is tragic to see the House turn itself into 'rapid reaction writers', issuing random political statements once requested," Haddadin wrote in his article, adding that "the House speaker [Dughmi] has violated the Constitution and parliamentary doctrines".
Haddadin also said that the House Permanent Bureau did not issue a statement, nor did deputies authorise Dughmi to do so, and he should not have spoken on behalf of all MPs.
Accusing his colleague of using a "cheap, offensive and indecent style" of argument, Dughmi pointed out that Haddadin's article could not be called "constructive criticism", but rather a personal attack against him.
The House speaker charged that his "old friend" Haddadin was angry because he had refused to give him per diem to take part in a delegation.
Dughmi alleged that the House secretariat did not receive a formal invitation from a neighbouring country for the Jordanian parliamentary delegation in question and that was why he refused Haddadin's request.
Moreover, Dughmi said the House Permanent Bureau had in fact decided to issue a statement responding to Arabiyat's allegations upon the request of a majority of deputies.
Haddadin asked to speak yesterday, but Dughmi did not permit him to do so, telling at him: "Be seated."
The deputy then walked out of the session.
Expressing dismay over Dughmi's "totalitarian attitude", several MPs joined Haddadin and left the chamber to sit with him in the gallery.
Playing the role of mediator, the speaker's first deputy, Atef Tarawneh, went to the gallery and convinced the protesting deputies to return to the Chamber.
After the session resumed, Haddadin attempted to speak but was shouted down by Deputy Yihya Saud (Amman, 2nd District), who then tried to physically attack the Zarqa deputy before his colleagues removed him from the chamber.
Earlier in the session, Saud accused journalists of fabricating rumours about him and rejected what he described as "inaccurate news reports" that accused him of assaulting a group of press photographers on Friday.
The MP reportedly attacked a group of press photographers who were covering the Friday march organised by the Muslim Brotherhood from Al Husseini Mosque downtown to Al Nakheel Square near City Hall, prompting one journalist to file a complaint with the police.
The Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists (CDFJ) issued a statement condemning Saud's actions, alleging that he destroyed some of their equipment, including cameras.
At Sunday's session, Saud slammed the CDFJ and its president, saying the centre had defamed him.