[WATCH] Delia plans to leave out rebel MPs in the cold if re-elected

Candidates Adrian Delia and Bernard Grech interviewed on national broadcaster as Nationalist Party leadership race edges closer  

Adrian Delia and Bernard Grech
Adrian Delia and Bernard Grech

Opposition leader Adrian Delia has made it clear he might not be including the MPs who led a successful rebellion against him, in his next front-bench should he be re-elected PN leader.

He is running for re-election after rebel MPs forced two successful no-confidence votes against him that led to PN councillors calling for a new leadership election.

He said there will be no place in “my group” for his most vocal critic, MP Jason Azzopardi. “He stepped over the line with a misleading discourse and lies. He has no place in a parliamentary group led by me,” he said on TVM’s Rasimbras.

“The others’ position,” referring to chief opponents like Chris Said, Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia, “is no longer tenable.”
Delia said the people “preventing party unity” will have to make room for others.

“Everyone will be measured according to what they have done… it is useless beating about the bush… of course I want to unify the party, but I gave everything I had to unify the party these last three years. If there are some who are doing the contrary, it is useless.

“The measure of a leader is the way one solves this problem… there are those who, come what may, will not change their ways.”

Delia said he was expecting a general election to be held in less than two years. “Labour is losing votes, the economy and the way Robert Abela is treating the COVID matter, is not helping the party. It was a government that could sail in fair winds, less so in stormy weather… the people are going to notice, and they will see a new PN that believes in people, in investment, and in liberty.”

Delia’s leadership rival Bernard Grech said in a separate interview that PN members will choose between a continually diminishing party, or one that starts to grow again. “We need a rejuvenated party that truly offers an alternative to the Labour government,” Grech told Rasimbras.

Grech said party unity was essential for a successful party. “Unity is regained at different levels,” he said.

Grech said that if he wins, he was open to sitting down with Delia in order to best determine what role he should have, should he accept it. On his part, Delia said Grech would be “part of the way forward.”

Grech said young people had to be assured that their voice was being heard inside the PN, as well as the importance of having a critical and ambitious voice within the party. “I want to strike a balance between experience and youthful energy,” he said.

On immigration, Grech said that Malta must emphasize the point that it is part of a collective European Union. “But first we have to fix the damaged reputation brought about by the Labour Party’s wrongdoing, then we can be taken seriously by our fellow member states,” he said.