The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Indepth: ‘Put up or shut up; your place isn’t in the PN’, Jean Pierre Debono tells ‘gossiping’ MPs

INDEPTH online Thursday, 17 January 2019, 14:55 Last update: about 7 months ago

The PN's chief political coordinator Jean Pierre Debono took aim at 'gossiping' members of the party's parliamentary group, saying on the latest edition of Indepth that these members should 'put up or shut up' and that their place 'isn't in politics or in the PN'.

In a statement issued outside the PN's headquarters on Wednesday night by the party's secretary general Clyde Puli, it was said that while the Administrative Council had unanimously declared its support for Adrian Delia, it "categorically condemned the coordinated and malicious attacks that are being carried out in confrontation of [Delia] and the party".

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Asked by The Malta Independent's editor-in-chief Rachel Attard about problems within the parliamentary group and on who was carrying out these attacks, Debono said that "if there are people who are in the parliamentary group [carrying out these attacks], my message is crystal clear; put up or shut up."

"This is not the right way how to do politics", he said before adding that those who do employ such means have no place in politics or in the Nationalist party. Debono said that if there are any MPs who are not content with Adrian Delia, then they should use the proper party structures and do what they have to do through those structures. Debono said that this is not only his message, but the message of those at grassroots level as well and if they get to know who these MPs are, adding that he does not believe newspaper reports which say that there are 10s and 20s of dissenting MPs, then certainly their electoral prospects through their voters will suffer.

Debono cited a well-known example of a political split in the Maltese scene, when the Labour Party was sliced down the middle when Dom Mintoff took over the party from Paul Boffa.  It was clear that Mintoff was wanted as leader of the party instead of Boffa, Debono said, and after the rumour that Boffa had booked a hotel room with his daughter was spread - an allegation which turned out to be completely untrue - and had an effect.  The party, Debono said, went through its respective structures and replaced Mintoff with Boffa.

He added that he isn't suggesting that the Nationalist Party should split as the Labour Party had done back then, but he said that "those who are MPs in the PN and who have a problem with Adrian Delia, they should go and face him with these problems and if they remain dissatisfied they should go through the proper procedure to have him removed as Party Leader."

 Having Delia removed from the leader of the party would require a vote from the PN's tesserati whilst having him removed as Opposition Leader requires 16 signatures of MPs. 

"If there isn't this, then everybody needs to pull one rope.  If someone doesn't like it - then the PN is not the place for him, and he knows where the door is", Debono said. 

Debono is one of the figures within the PN who is outwardly loyal to Delia, and in fact he was the MP who gave his seat in Parliament up for Delia after he was elected as the party's new leader.


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