Speaker seeks advice on Jami-Lee Ross situation as MPs return to Wellington after week of high drama

Parliament is holding its collective breath to see what's going to happen as MPs return to the capital today, after one of the most tumultuous weeks in recent political history.

After unleashing a volley of damaging allegations against his former leader, National's Simon Bridges, and his party, Jami-Lee Ross was reportedly taken into mental health care over the weekend.

Jami-Lee Ross took leave from Parliament earlier this month for mental health reasons. Source: 1 NEWS

The Speaker of the House has asked for advice about how to best deal with the situation facing the now-independent MP.

There are several ways an MP can lose their seat, and one is on mental health grounds, under the Electoral Act.

Speaker Trevor Mallard has to be notified if an MP is admitted to an institution either by compulsory treatment or inpatient order.

As of yesterday afternoon there had been no such notification.

Mr Ross resigned from the National Party caucus last week after Mr Bridges identified him as the leaker of his travel expenses.

At the time he also said he intended to resign his Botany seat, effective Friday October 19. However, Mr Ross said on that day he had changed his mind and would stay on in Parliament as an independent MP.

He has been the subject of several allegations of harassing women, claims he has denied.

The stunning admission comes after a turbulent week for Mr Ross and the National Party. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Ross admitted to having had a mental breakdown a few weeks prior but said he had recovered.

Mr Mallard has been taking advice about the relevant legal matters and privacy guidelines.

The Electoral Act does not appear to require Mr Mallard to report to Parliament if he does end up getting a notification.

Under the Act he would, however, have to alert the Director-General of Health:

"Who, together with some medical practitioner named by the Speaker, shall without delay visit and examine the member to whom the notice relates, and shall report to the Speaker whether the member is mentally disordered."

Then follows a six month period after which the Speaker and the Director-General have to go back to the medical practitioner for an assessment as to whether the MP is "still mentally disordered" - if that is the case the MP's seat becomes vacant.

That is all based on a hypothetical situation, and is not the necessarily the course of action that would be taken in Mr Ross's case.

The National Party said it has been seeking advice from medical professionals over the past few weeks and ensuring support was available, but declined to comment any further.

- By Jane Patterson 
rnz.co.nz

The 1 NEWS political reporters discuss the dramatic developments as the feud continues.
Source: 1 NEWS