[WATCH] Labour hits out at Delia over migration statements

PL takes Opposition leader to task on migration as government comes under fire over pushback policy

The Labour Party has hit out at Opposition leader Adrian Delia’s statements on immigration policy, as the Maltese government fends off criticism over pushbacks of asylum seekers rescued at sea due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Adrian Delia’s inconsistency on illegal immigration shows how appropriate it is that the Opposition is not leading the country at this moment,” the PL said on Sunday in a statement.

“Twelve days ago, the Nationalist leader said that immigrants in the middle of the sea should be saved and kept on a ship outside our country. But yesterday Delia condemned the government’s decision to save 57 migrants and transfer them to a ship off the Maltese coast,” the PL said, posting video excerpts of Delia’s comments.

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The government has chartered a tourist ferry to hold 57 migrants on board at Hurds Bank, outside Maltese territorial waters, pending a redistribution solution from the EU. The government has adamantly said Maltese ports will remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PL also said that on 15 March, Delia had said Malta should opt for a full lockdown, but when asked on Saturday whether he thought this was the best option he claimed he never mentioned a full lockdown.

“The people are not going to forget nor that Delia was first in favour of Malta becoming a centre for the rescue of immigrants, and then scared the Maltese over every foreigner living and working in Malta, and then attacked the government for not taking in boat migrants during a public health emergency,” Labour said.

“And recently, while he was visiting the Armed Forces, his shadow minister for justice was signing a criminal complaint that accused the Armed Forces members of homicide. Delia has rendered the PN into a party of extremist factionalism on matters of national interest. He cannot be taken seriously.”