The Malta Independent 17 May 2022, Tuesday

TMID Editorial: David Thake’s resignation

Thursday, 20 January 2022, 12:16 Last update: about 5 months ago

When, in the summer of 2020, a group of Nationalist MPs and other officials were doing all they could to get rid of Adrian Delia as their leader, David Thake was one of four MPs who were named by Delia as being a dissident in which he (Delia) would never have confidence.

“My confidence in them will never be recovered”, Delia had said about Thake, Chris Said, Therese Comodini Cachia and Claudette Buttigieg, who had publicly declared that they had voted against Delia in an internal exercise.

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In a video that he had posted on Facebook, Thake had said that “we will see this through” – in reference to Delia being removed from the position of Opposition Leader. The Times had reported Thake as saying that “we have an ongoing fight to rescue the party from a handful of people who are intent on destroying it”. The fight of what were then known as rebel MPs was “to save the PN from the hands of those who entered the party only to crash it into a wall”.

Delia was eventually removed from the PN leadership. He still keeps his place as a PN MP and will contest the next election. Thake will not see the end of the legislature in the House and has pulled out his candidacy for the coming polls.

Earlier this month, Thake handed in his resignation from Parliament after news reports revealed that his companies owe money to the VAT Department that go back several years. Not one or two euros, but more than €750,000, it has been reported.

Thake has defended himself saying that cash flow problems prevented him from settling his dues, adding that he preferred to pay his employees rather than his outstanding debt with the government.

He first suspended himself from the shadow Cabinet and requested an investigation by the Standards Commissioner. But pressure continued to mount and he later resigned from Parliament, less than two years after winning a casual election to replace Simon Busuttil.

In an article written for Times of Malta a few days ago, Nationalist Party 2017 candidate Kevin Cassar wrote that Thake was expecting “much higher standards” from Delia on his (Delia’s) financial situation “than he (Thake) did of himself”. Cassar had strong words on his colleague, saying that he (Thake) “repeatedly failed his duty”.

By so doing, Thake has embarrassed himself, but mostly he has embarrassed his own party, particularly its leader. The PN has for months declared a no-nonsense approach towards such matters, expecting high standards from all its members, even though the man who replaced Delia at the helm of the party, Bernard Grech, himself had to settle his tax dues before taking on the leadership role.

Thake did the right thing by resigning. A party that calls for resignations each time a member of the government fails in their duty or is involved in some scandal cannot retain an MP who has allowed himself to get involved in these murky waters.

But it is situations like Thake’s that crash political parties into walls.

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