Chris Fearne mulls PL deputy leader run

Health minister Chris Fearne is considering a run for Labour’s forthcoming deputy leadership race after incumbent and deputy prime minister Louis Grech calls it a day

30 May 2017, 8:00am
Health minister Chris Fearne
Health minister Chris Fearne
Health minister Chris Fearne is considering a run for Labour’s forthcoming deputy leadership race after incumbent and deputy prime minister Louis Grech calls it a day, having announced he will not be contesting the 2017 elections.

A close aide told MaltaToday that Fearne, 54, was “positive about the post after the election, and he is also considering his prospects beyond a five-year term.”

Fearne, a consultant paediatric surgeon, was elected to parliament in 2013, the first time he ran for election. He was elected on the fourth district, where former energy minister Konrad Mizzi also ran. For a time, Fearne was parliamentary secretary for health when Mizzi was energy and health minister, before the latter was stripped of the portfolio in the aftermath of the Panama Papers revelations. 

The post of deputy leader for parliamentary affairs will be vacated by Louis Grech, opening up a new race in the Labour leadership, which currently includes minister for the economy Chris Cardona as deputy leader for party affairs.

“Fearne is seen as a promising politician with a no-nonsense approach by the prime minister,” the aide who spoke to this newspaper said.

Fearne’s first foray into politics came in 2008 when he publicly endorsed Joseph Muscat in the leadership battle against George Abela.

In 2013, he was elected on the fourth district with 300 first-count votes, inheriting enough votes from Joseph Muscat to get elected after Konrad Mizzi and Silvio Parnis.

Fearne left his successful medical career after being elected an MP, being appointed junior minister for health in the 2014 reshuffle, and then promoted to minister after the demotion of Konrad Mizzi to a minister without portfolio under Muscat’s purview.

As a student in the 1980s Fearne served as international secretary of the Labour youth organ Zghazagh Laburisti but faded away from the scene to follow his medical career, spending 25 years in paediatric surgeon.

Fearne is running on the third and fourth districts. Other candidates on the fourth district include Konrad Mizzi. Joseph Muscat is running on second and fifth districts.