[WATCH] Marlene Farrugia: Labour MPs scared of speaking out, she refused Busuttil’s offer to join PN, and why her resignation was long on the cards

WATCH highlights • 10 things former Labour MP Marlene Farrugia told Saviour Balzan for Reporter

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Matthew Vella
18 November 2015, 7:26pm
Marlene Farrugia: “Labour is not acting as the movement it portrayed itself to be during the election.” Photo: Ray Attard
Marlene Farrugia: “Labour is not acting as the movement it portrayed itself to be during the election.” Photo: Ray Attard
10 things Marlene Farrugia told us in an interview with Saviour Balzan
A full interview with the former Labour MP Marlene Farrugia, now independent, will air on Monday on TVM on Reporter at 10.05pm.

Farrugia tendered her surprise resignation on Tuesday evening after voting with the Opposition on amendments to the laws that will split the planning authority’s environment and planning arms. With her resignation from Labour came that from the chairmanship of the parliamentary environment committee, which she led with admirable forthrightness.

Her discomfort with Joseph Muscat’s leadership had been evident since a Cabinet reshuffle in March 2014 that was prompted by the resignation of her own partner, Godfrey Farrugia, from health minister. Today he is government whip.

She said Opposition leader Simon Busuttil asked her to join the PN, but she refused and said she will not join the party – of which she was a candidate back in the 1990s.

She described the Labour government’s lack of transparency as its “largest wound” right now.

“It is not acting as the movement it portrayed itself to be during the election,” Farrugia charged.

She complained that the Labour administration did not inform MPs or the public of certain aspects of its programme when it was elected, such as the delay in switching from heavy fuel oil at Delimara; the use of an LNG tanker in Marsaxlokk; or the sale of citizenship.

She also complained that Labour MPs are scared of speaking out in the parliamentary group, for fear of some repercussion.

She also denied having placed partner Godfrey Farrugia, the whip, in an uncomfortable situation due to her resignation: “He was prepared… he knew that if the moment came I would do it.”

She claims that environmental NGOs have gained a new voice in the House, although her resignation from the environment committee will dead-leg the groups which in the past had the opportunity to grill the MEPA chairman.

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.