The Malta Independent 14 November 2018, Wednesday

INDEPTH: If we keep holding on to the past we are lost - Adrian Delia

INDEPTH online Tuesday, 24 July 2018, 10:14 Last update: about 4 months ago

PN leader Adrian Delia has bemoaned the "ridiculous" behaviour of MPs who chose to voice their concerns over his actions following the conclusion of the Egrant Inquiry on Facebook before even discussing their issues with him.

Delia was speaking in an interview on INDEPTH with The Malta Independent Editor-in-Chief Rachel Attard after 10 MPs marched in open revolution against their leader's decision to remove his predecessor Simon Busuttil from his shadow cabinet, and call on Busuttil to suspend himself from the PN parliamentary group.

Former Deputy Leaders Mario de Marco and Beppe Fenech Adami, MPs Jason Azzopardi, Karol Aquilina, Claudio Grech, Ryan Callus, Therese Comodini Cachia, Marthese Portelli, Karl Gouder, and Claudette Buttigieg all used the hashtag "#notinmyname, #strongertogether" or backed Busuttil in posts on social media.

Delia stressed the importance of dialogue, saying that he would be willing to work with all of the MPs to convince them that his decision is what is ultimately good for the party.

If not, he explained, he would continue to push through his vision of the party with or without the support of the 11 renegade MPs.

"We cannot continue to dig our heads in the sand and remain in this corner. I will remain trying to convince them till the end. If we keep holding onto the past we are lost. We need to start making tough decisions," he said.

Delia stood by his decision to remove Busuttil from his shadow cabinet, where Busuttil was spokesman for good governance, saying that it was his prerogative and that he would shoulder responsibility for the decision.

He disagreed with the claim that the dissenting MPs were challenging his leadership, first saying that the decision to ask Busuttil to suspend himself from the parliamentary group was based on unanimous approval from the administrative council and not himself, then later adding that diversity of opinion was an intrinsic identity of the party.

"He (Busuttil) made a political decision based on information we know now not to be true. The PN suffered because of this by losing (the election) by the largest margin ever. He must shoulder responsibility. That is how democracy works."

"We have always said that we have faith in Magistrate Bugeja, as did Busuttil. We have spoken a lot about the rule of law. You cannot choose to not accept the court's decision."

Pressed as to whether he would take similar action with other members within the PN Parliamentary Group who vociferously backed the claims, including those within his inner circle such as secretary general Clyde Puli, Delia said that the MPs worked according to the loyalty of their leader.

"Not all MPs would have the same information as their leader so they worked according to their loyalty, and maybe that isn't happening today. We cannot have a situation where the leader makes a mistake and everyone suffers," he said adding that Busuttil symbolised the claims.

With regard to the current head of Media.Link Pierre Portelli, who handed in documents to the magistrate which turned out to have been forged, Delia said that given he had submitted the documents in his role as a journalist, he did not have to shoulder the responsibility for the judgements.

"As a journalist, he was obliged by law to take the documents in his possession to the magistrate."

Delia said that he has made a written request to the AG for the full report, saying that he expected to receive a reply in a couple of hours.

"I want to make it crystal clear that this is the decision of one inquiry, and there are another 3 on-going with regards to different issues," he said.

Photos Alenka Falzon
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