[WATCH] Delia won’t punish ‘disloyal’ MPs in imminent PN shadow cabinet reshuffle

PN leader Adrian Delia says he will be looking at MPs' abilities and work ethic - and not necessarily loyalty to him - as he moves to reshuffle the shadow cabinet

Adrian Delia says he expects PN MPs to work for the collective good
Adrian Delia says he expects PN MPs to work for the collective good
Delia won’t punish ‘disloyal’ MPs in imminent PN shadow cabinet reshuffle

A reshuffle with the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group is imminent after a planned upheavel within the opposition’s shadow cabinet duties were waylaid by the resignation of prime minister Joseph Muscat in Decmber and the subsequent election of Robert Abela to replace him.

PN leader Adrian Delia told MaltaToday that a reshuffle has been in the pipeline for some months but insisted the shake-up would not be used as a tool to simply award those MPs who are loyal to him.

What would be recognised will be the abilities of the individual MPs as well as their work within the group and in Parliament.

“Loyalty is important in politics, but this will not play a part in how I formulate my shadow cabinet,” he said. “The person’s work ethic and their suitability to represent the party’s vision and message is what I look at.”

Delia said he would not use the reshuffle as a means to further accentuate an apparent division within the parliamentary group, in the wake of a number of online posts in the past few weeks which saw 17 MPs call on Delia to consider resigning for the good of the party, following a MaltaToday survey which saw his public trust rating slide drastically.

Keeping some of those MPs close to him in important shadow cabinet roles was not a sign of weakness, he said.

“I cannot quarrel with anyone who does not agree with everything I say or react to every single little thing everyone says,” Delia said, when asked how he felt about having MP Jason Azzopardi beside him in press conferences even though Azzopardi was one of the most vocal critics, with frequent posts on social media highlighting the division within the group.

“Even our members and supporters are constantly urging us to come together and show a unified front and that is what I am striving to achieve.”

Delia said he welcomed debate and discussion within the parliamentary group, but insisted that he expected the group to stand as one once a decision is taken.

“Then there are the extremes, those who – at all costs – are not willing to work with others and cannot understand that they need to look to the collective good when working within a team,” he said. “Those will be demonstrating they cannot work within a team for the collective good.”

Outgoing deputy PN leader Robert Arrigo confirmed that a reshuffle had been planned for December but postponed, but insisted it was still in the pipeline and that it was necessary.

A reshuffle was important because it must recognise the MP’s willingness to work for the good of the party and in the PN voters’ best interests, he said.