Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi calls for a review of Speaker’s Ruling

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi asked for a review of a ruling delivered by the Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia against him. The said ruling which was delivered earlier this week found Azzopardi was in breach of parliamentary privilege.

Azzopardi asked for a review of the ruling, accompanied by a report to be included in the minutes of the procedures of the House of Representatives.

The ruling concerned a Facebook post which was uploaded on 5 January and in which Azzopardi had shared footage of his speech at a political activity in Tarxien. The Speaker of the House had found that post constituted a prima facie breach of privilege.

During his speech Azzopardi 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 his motion, Azzopardi said that he was aggravated by the ruling for a number of factual and legal reasons, apart from the ruling’s serious implications on the fundamental right to free expression.

Azzopardi reminded that each Member of Parliament, more so those in Opposition is duty bound to scrutinize the government and the government’s MPs. He added that Standing Orders cannot be used to undermine a fundamental human right such as the right to freedom of expression. Azzopardi said that he had repeated in public on events which had been reported about in the press, noting that Cardona failed to deny events or provide an explanation about certain behavior.

The Opposition MP said that ‘it was a fact and not speculation that the person in question had sworn a false oath, enjoyed himself in a brothel while on ministerial duties, spent public money, fail to account for the expenses and lives a lavish lifestyle which does not tally up with the declared financial status’. Further, Azzopardi noted that the minister is close to people in the criminal nexus including the masterminds in the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

He added that it was the right and duty of every MP to decry such behaviour and ‘yes, such persons are liars and corrupt’.