Jason Azzopardi found prima facie in breach of privilege over ‘corrupt liar’ remarks

Jason Azzopardi in Parliament

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Speaker Anġlu Farrugia found opposition MP Jason Azzopardi prima facie guilty of breach of parliamentary privilege when he described fellow MP Chris Cardona as a “corrupt liar” earlier this month.

Dr Farrugia made his ruling at the start of today’s parliamentary sitting, following a request made by Dr Cardona in yesterday’s sitting.

Dr Azzopardi was making a speech at a PN activity in Tarxien on January 5 when he recalled that in a parliamentary sitting in October 2018, “Joseph Muscat, next to that corrupt liar Chris Cardona,” accused former PN leader Simon Busuttil of falsifying signatures, even though the Egrant report he was referring to – which was only made public recently – made no such claim. Party supporters applauded Dr Azzopardi’s description of the Labour MP and former Economy Minister, who was not included in the cabinet of new Prime Minister Robert Abela.

In yesterday’s sitting, Dr Azzopardi insisted that he stood by his words, and challenged Dr Cardona to sue him for libel if he felt defamed.

But ultimately, Dr Farrugia ruled that the Nationalist MP’s remarks, which clearly referred to Dr Cardona while he was carrying out his parliamentary duties, amounted to a prima facie breach of parliamentary privilege.

“MPs should show respect to each other, even though this is not always happening right now,” the Speaker said.