Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara told parliament yesterday he was highly worried about what happened in the House the previous day and under these circumstances was prepared to step down if the members requested him to do so.
Causing ripples of laughter among government members, UNP MP Mahinda Ratnatilake said during the commotion two ministers had crawled up to him from behind the Speaker`s chair and tried to pull down his sarong.
In the altercation that followed Mr. Ratnatilake also had his shirt torn apart.
Parliamentary proceedings on Thursday were marred by rowdy scenes which began when the UNP and JVP members trooped into the Well of the House shouting slogans to protest the five Finance Bills being taken up for electronic voting.
Later some government and UNP members traded blows in a free-for-all. The Speaker said he was compelled to approve the passing of the Bills amid the din created by protesting opposition members.
`I had to deviate from the usual practice of referring these bills to the committee stage as required by the Standing Orders. I approved the Bills in this manner as there was no other means of responding to members who behaved as terrorists,` he said.
The Speaker said he was a UNP MP, and was prepared to leave office if the members of the House wish him do so.
`I do not want to cling to this post. I am ready to leave if any time if you do not want my services,` he said.
The Speaker said he always acted according to his conscience.
UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe said the incident that took place on Thursday, was unfortunate and that he regretted it.
Plantation Minister D.M. Jayaratne said he was also worried about the decline in discipline among parliamentarians.
Mr. Jayaratne asked how they could discipline millions of people whom they represented while behaving in such a disgraceful manner in the House.