Chan remains with government despite party defection

Main Stories
The National, Monday July 18th, 2016

MINING Minister and Namatanai MP Byron Chan says he remains part of the Government despite his People’s Progress Party defecting to the Opposition.
He said this before leaving for Alotau yesterday with 78 other Government MPs, including Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, for a camp in the Milne Bay capital in the lead-up to Friday’s no-confidence motion against the prime minister.
Chan caused a stir in parliament last Friday when he walked in on the Government side while his PPP colleagues were seated with the Opposition.
“PPP has never been in Opposition for the last five years,” Chan said.
“We’ve been always been with the prime minister.
“I have never changed my position. I’m not sure whether there is a party resolution endorsing anything, so I stay and I remain with the prime minister.” Chan said his father, PPP founder and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan, remained in the province.
“My governor is in his province,” he said. “I have yet to establish a proper contact with him.
“Whatever has transpired, like I said, he’s still in the province.”
Chan said he had discussed the move to Opposition with PPP leader Ben Micah but it had not been endorsed by the party caucus.
“We discussed this, but not to the extent of the full party caucus,” he said. “Things are done through a party caucus through resolutions.
“That’s why I remain (in Government).” Chan admitted that he received a big surprise when he walked into Parliament with Government last Friday only to see Micah in Opposition.
“I didn’t expect to see my leader in the Opposition,” he said.
“I was expecting that but not so soon.
“The party has always been a part of this coalition for a long time.
“I have not had any word from the party executive on my position.
“As far as I know, the full caucus has not met so where I stand is right.”
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill described Chan as “as senior member of Parliament”.
“He’s not an unstable character,” he said.
“Let us put it into perspective – senior member of Parliament.”