Konrad Mizzi is not going anywhere: I’ll be MP loyal to Labour, he tells Speaker

Disgraced minister sacked from Labour says he will retain seat as independent MP and stay loyal to Labour parliamentary group

Konrad Mizzi has occupied the health, energy and tourism portfolios in two Labour administrations.
Konrad Mizzi has occupied the health, energy and tourism portfolios in two Labour administrations.

The disgraced former minister Konrad Mizzi, who was this week sacked from the Labour parliamentary group, is refusing to make a clean break from his former party.

In a letter to the Speaker today, Mizzi said that while he will no longer form part of the Labour backbench, he would still be showing loyalty to the Labour group as an independent MP. 

Mizzi retains his seat in the House since through the action of the Labour Party national executive, he only loses his party membership. Maltese MPs are directly elected by constituents and parties do not determine who keeps their seat or not. 

“I will keep propping up Labour’s efforts,” he told Speaker Anglu Farrugia in his letter. “It is my aim to keep giving my contribution to the country’s economic development, and I will keep giving my political contribution to be the voice of my constituents.” 

The fourth district MP, once billed as Labour’s ‘star’ candidate when in 2013 he promoted the party’s successful shift from heavy fuel oil to LNG for Malta’s energy supply, soon fell into disrepute when he was outed in the Panama Papers. 

Today, the association of Panama with Yorgen Fenech’s Dubai company 17 Black has shed light on the incestuous relationship between high officials of the Labour government, and the alleged mastermind of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. 

The latest scandal, an inflated acquisition of a Montenegro wind farm through an offshore company financed by a loan from 17 Black, pushed Labour to expel the former energy minister Konrad Mizzi from the party. 

His insistence to stay on as an independent MP loyal to Labour signals Mizzi’s intent to retain some form of constituent support on the fourth district, where Labour deputy leader and deputy prime minister Chris Fearne holds sway. In 2017, Fearne pipped Mizzi by a few votes to become the fourth district leader. 

Mizzi can now be expected to use his limited time in the House to prop up a defence against various allegations on the scandals he presided over, and to Robert Abela’s chagrin, a lightning rod for more controversy. 

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