A contract for the supply of paper to the government was to cost the Rt Hon Mabel Strickland her chair in parliament. Lawyer and constitutional historian Tonio Borg told Newsbook.com.mt that in the immediate post-war years, standards of behaviour in public life were much more stringent then they are today. Borg said that in the immediate post-war years, the 1947 constitution did not give any lee-way to MPs to undertake any form of contractual work with government, of whatever nature.
From a historical perspective, Mabel Strickland had placed Dom Mintoff in her cross-hairs, identifying him as ‘the enemy’. She wanted to ally with Boffa and with the PN and as a consequence set up the Progressive Constitutional Party (as distinct from the Constitutional Party). Her former boss at the Constitutional Party, much miffed at Ms Strickland’s move, proceeded to take her to court…for procuring to government, in this case, a supply of printing paper.
Mabel Strickland, as Managing Director of Progress Press, protested that she was not aware that this transaction had been concluded. Indeed, the transaction was a very minor one. This still cut no ice with the Courts and Ms Strickland not only lost the case but was made to resign her parliamentary chair to boot.
Dr Borg recalls the historical incident with Fr Joe Borg.