[WATCH] Bernard Grech denies backtracking on shadow portfolios: 'All are happy and satisfied'

Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech denies being forced to backtrack on original reshuffle plans following backlash from constituents and MPs

PN leader Bernard Grech
PN leader Bernard Grech

Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech has denied being forced to retain Stephen Spiteri and Robert Arrigo in their former shadow cabinet posts after facing backlash from their constituents.

Grech insisted the exercise to reshuffle the shadow cabinet was "a process" that included speaking to individuals to make sure the portfolios were best suited to them.

The shadow portfolios of PN MPs were reshuffled last week, in a three-day exercise that was characterised by friction. Grech had made certain choices that were then reversed when the final outcome was communicated.

Grech faced backlash when he tried to remove the health and tourism portfolios from Spiteri and Arrigo respectively. But he had to backtrack on other choices he originally made.

Asked by MaltaToday, Grech denied being forced to retain Spiteri and Arrigo. "The reshuffling of a shadow cabinet is a process. It includes discussions with various members, to make sure each person is best suited for the role... I am content with the current cabinet, and am looking forward to the future," Grech said after visiting the University of Malta's students' council.

"I am confident that the shadow cabinet will be working much better because every deputy is happy and satisfied with their portfolio," he said. 

Last week, a reshuffle of portfolios unsettled the PN parliamentary group and caused backlash in some of the districts where the MPs hail from.

Grech also did a U-turn on Mario Galea and reappointed him as the spokesperson for mental health and animal rights after having initially withdrawn the mental health portfolio.