Muscat warned by colleagues not to raise breach of privilege against Azzopardi

Labour insiders say Muscat was warned to not ‘take the bait’ in filing parliamentary privilege complaint against Jason Azzopardi over 2017 election claim

Joseph Muscat has asked for a breach of privilege ruling over accusations made by Jason Azzopardi that he knew of Caruana Galizia's murder plot
Joseph Muscat has asked for a breach of privilege ruling over accusations made by Jason Azzopardi that he knew of Caruana Galizia's murder plot

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was warned to not take Jason Azzopardi’s bait in raising a breach of parliamentary privilege complaint against Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi.

Azzopardi was found guilty of breaching parliamentary privilege over a speech he delivered a couple of weeks ago in which he concluded that one of the reasons why Muscat called an early election in 2017 was because he knew about the plot to murder Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Azzopardi made the statement after testimony given by a police inspector in the Caruana Galizia public inquiry that murder suspect Yorgen Fenech had told police during interrogation that he knew an early election was on the cards at least seven months before.

Muscat had raised a breach of privilege complaint and the Speaker ruled in his favour this week. Azzopardi refused to withdraw the claim and is now appealing the ruling. The appeal will take the form of a parliamentary debate and a vote.

If Azzopardi loses the vote, as he is likely to do, the matter will end up in front of the privileges committee where witnesses can be summoned.

READ ALSO: Joseph Muscat accuses Jason Azzopardi of lying over claims he knew of Caruana Galizia murder plot

Illum reported that Labour insider who spoke with the newspaper had warned Muscat to not invoke the complaint, as it would enable Azzopardi to tarnish his reputation further.

“He swallowed Azzopardi’s bait, and now aside from court, he [Jason Azzopardi] will have another podium from where he can continue to allege against Muscat,” sources said.

The insiders also said that such a manoeuvre was not typical of Muscat, especially since he had already made up his mind to enter the private sector.

The sources insisted Muscat could have directed his efforts to calling on Azzopardi to repeat the allegations outside court, expressing confidence that he would not.

Insiders who spoke to Illum also said that Muscat has started establishing himself as consultant, with his own personal office. Given his former position as PM, Muscat had expressed his desire in not remaining an MP, the sources said, so as to not have his business scrutinized by parliament.

READ ALSO: Joseph Muscat rebuts Jason Azzopardi, insists there is no case against him on Montenegro wind farm

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