The Malta Independent 2 December 2023, Saturday
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PN walks out of Parliament in heated debate, says Speaker turned vote into 'parody of democracy'

Thursday, 16 March 2023, 19:09 Last update: about 10 months ago

The Nationalist Party walked out of a heated Parliamentary Debate on Thursday when the Labour Party were allowed to present amendments to the PN's motion about the hospitals deal at a time when the PN argued it was not allowed to do so.

After Prime Minister Robert Abela concluded his speech, Justice Minister Jonathan Attard stood up to read an amendment to the PN's motion, however PN MPs argued that the government's speaking time had elapsed and thus could not do so.


Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia said that the PL informed him in writing of the amendment during the sitting, and thus were allowed to do so.

Several PN MPs continued arguing that this was not allowed, especially since the amendments were substantive. Speaker Anglu Farrugia, however, said that he saw the standing orders and allowed Attard to read out the amendments. The PN aired their disagreement within Parliament. After Minister Attard read out his motion, Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said that the Speaker of the House failed the people. He said that the Speaker "stole the time I had to speak in Parliament and as such, this side of the House does not intend to participate in today's vote since you made this vote a parody of democracy."

The PN's motion called on Parliament to condemn the hospitals deal and demand that Prime Minister Robert Abela take all necessary actions including but not limited to, instituting legal proceedings, so that the Government of Malta recovers any amount it improperly paid to Steward and Vitals Global Healthcare and/or their subsidiaries.

The PL's amendments changed the motion. The PL's amendment called on Parliament to "continue to follow the ongoing civil procedure regarding the transfer of the St Luke's Hospital, Karin Grech Hospital and the Gozo General Hospital to Steward Malta Assets Limited and Vitals Global Healthcare Assets Limited and / or to their subsidiaries; and also give a mandate and full confidence to the Government led by the Prime Minister Robert Abela, to take all the necessary actions needed and steps he deems appropriate in the circumstances and in the appropriate forums, as he has always done, in the interest of all the Maltese and Gozitan people, at the opportune moment and when it is wise to do this in the national interest."

A vote was taken in Parliament on the PL's amendment after the PN walked out, which passed.

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