The Malta Independent 23 September 2019, Monday

Updated: Godfrey Farrugia resigns as Labour whip, says PL using people to protect its power

Saturday, 29 April 2017, 09:36 Last update: about 3 years ago

Godfrey Farrugia has resigned from the position of Labour whip, the Labour Mp said this morning.

In a strongly-worded open letter to the Prime Minister which he published on Facebook, the MP said that Labour ideals should have never been betrayed “to push the agenda of the few who, it is clear, do not have the national interest at heart,” he wrote.

He also said that there were times when he was forced to vote against his conscience in Parliament, adding that there were times when Labour bended the law to suit its purposes.

He accused the Labour leadership of using the people to protect its power, saying that it was wrong for Labour to try to justify its mistakes the way it did.

"We arrived at a point where we are giving Malta a bad name, on an international level and during Malta’s presidency of the EU," Dr Farrugia wrote.

“The political game of illusion was never to my liking; worse than this was the Machiavellian game, post-truth politics, hypocrisy and anti-truth."

This is a free translation of his full letter:

"In 2012 I chose to join the new political movement that promised a new lease of life for the country. With my contribution, I wanted to eradicate a PN government that was past its sell-by date.

“I wanted nothing more. I wanted to give my time, my love and my health to my country. I dreamt of curing the country and I tried (to do so). It was my mission. My message was one of kind politics.

“We managed to obtain a good majority. We had a new government, I had faith. We had all built faith… my respect towards you was my motivation.

“Thanks to you I was made Health Minister and I worked on behalf of the Malta Taghna Lkoll (movement) and the dignity of man. I planned and implemented the roadmap, while I committed myself to build a sense of accountability of a decaying health system we inherited.

“Against my wishes, I resigned and refused other ministries. I had smelt a hidden agenda of people who were close to you, persons in whom you have trust.

“As an MP, I worked and expressed myself in various debates, and as government whip I worked even harder. I did my duties to the best of my abilities. Many times I took the initiative in various social sectors to address the evolution of the society we live in.

“I embraced inclusivity. With satisfaction I note that two suggestions I made about young people and the introduction of (a particular) medicine were accepted. I worked in favour of a sustainable environment, historical heritage and our identity.

“In Parliament I led and discussed several socio-medical subjects. I was a voice and a leader in favour of life from conception to death and I remained a bastion in the defence of the fundamental human rights.

“In these moments I defended the PL values and tried to keep them alive, in spite of the difference with the PL Women’s Movement and PL’s Youths.

“Because, tell me, how can you speak of civil rights when you are ready to deny a person from the principle right to life by not protecting him or her at the most vulnerable stage (embryo freezing).

“I chaired three government committees with determination in favour of our work.

“At international level, at the OSCE(PA) I worked hard as a prime mover and presented two motions.

“Without hesitation I am proud to say that I was part of a government that was successful in some sectors, but we slipped on the most crucial part because our administration lacked maturity.

“We could never expect to be perfect, because we are all humans and make mistakes. But when we started to justify our mistakes and say the bad things were good, then it was a different story.

“The direction (given by the government) was not illegal, but circum legal (bending around the legal).

“I must say that the positive effect of every budget was lost with a mishap until, little by little, we started to lose credibility. And this started from the top.

“The OPM, more and more, took on more power, and this even happened when it was hit by the international scandal known as the Panama Papers.

“I worked alongside you, I expressed my thoughts genuinely and you heard me, but I cannot say that you listened to what I was saying. I wished you well but not always did I understand your rationality.

“Smokescreens were used for my opinion to be killed at birth.

“I lived through difficult moments too, in particular to regain my health. Some PL officials and delegates put spokes in my wheels. They did their best to hide me from the media. As a person I suffered in silence and I forgave them, but as a Whip I remained loyal to my work. I worked responsibly for what was good.

“The political game of illusion was never to my liking; worse than this was the Machiavellian game, post-truth politics, hypocrisy and anti-truth.

“In some reforms leading to the setting up of authorities I expected that politicians do not remain at the centre, but should distance themselves. This did not take place. Instead, we did the opposite. We strengthened politicians when it was the opportune time to put into practice the spreading of power, if we truly believe that we want to lead our country and people on the road of maturity.

“I also think that the main foundations of the electoral manifesto that guaranteed a leadership based on accountability and transparency were strongly shaken.

“Wrongful behaviour was not curbed, left repercussions that put us with our backs against the wall. We lost our moral fibre. We did not succeed to unite the people. The people were confused and went around blindly, looking for the real truth. We arrived at a point where we are giving Malta a bad name, on an international level and during Malta’s presidency of the EU.

“The allegations made recently hurt me, and di so because I treasure my country.

“I thought it over and over again, often spending sleepless nights, and recalled my speeches in Parliament.

“I voted as a whip, even when I was asked to do so against my conscience.

“And so with responsibility and respect, I am informing you that I am resigning from the position of whip, but not as an MP on the government backbench, in the hope that I will bring the leadership to its senses and stop using the people for the protection of its power.

“The people’s confidence towards the Labour ideal should never have been betrayed and used to push the agenda of the few who, it is clear, do not have the national interest at heart.

“There are just civil tools and mechanisms, and I am sure that in the year that remains were can change direction with determination.

“To do so the government must work to rebuild the credibility that it lost.

“We are in politics to serve with humility and that is how I will continue to believe and live."

PL reaction

In a statement, the Labour Party said that the PM received Godfrey's Farrugia's letter of resignation from party whip.

PM Joseph Muscat thanked Dr Farrugia for his services.

Tony Agius Decelis has been appointed acting whip.

Edward Zammit Lewis on Godfrey Farrugia 29APR2017 from The Malta Independent on Vimeo.

Edward Zammit Lewis

Asked about the resignation, Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said that Dr Farrugia, by his own choice, remained a Labour MP. He said the Prime Minister and all other colleagues will continue to work with Dr Farrugia.





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