Chris Fearne won’t tell House who PN MPs asking to jump vaccine queue were

Chris Fearne challenged to name Nationalist MPs who wanted to skip vaccine queue, but will only tell Opposition leader

Updated at 8:12pm with Bernard Grech's follow-up comment

Health Minister Chris Fearne said that he will be revealing to Opposition leader Bernard Grech which Nationalist MPs personally asked  to skip the vaccination queue - but will not publicly do so in the Parliament Chamber.

In a heated exchange following parliamentary questions, Fearne said that multiple MPs from the Opposition benches personally approached the minister asking whether they or their family members could skip the vaccination queue.

Fearne remarked that one of the MPs also sent a “gentle reminder” days after making the initial request.

He said that he approached Bernard Grech on Tuesday after making the initial allegation, offering to name the person involved, but Grech said that there was no need and that he had spoken with the MP against skipping the vaccination queue.

Opposition Whip Robert Cutajar asked for a ruling by the Speaker of the House on Fearne’s comments, asking whether the Health Minister will stand by his comments or retire his words.

Fearne stated that he will stand by Tuesday’s allegations.

The Health Minister’s allegations were prompted by an insinuation from Bernard Grech that some people were jumping the vaccine queue.

“I do have people asking me to jump the queue but I always refused… I also had a member of the Opposition parliamentary group asking me to jump the queue and told him off,” Fearne said, without naming the MP.

Later in the plenary session, Bernard Grech clarified that the MP he spoke to about the vaccine was Claudette Buttigieg. Buttigieg said that she was approached to take the vaccine before she was entitled to do so, but refused the offer.

Grech went on to formally complain to the Speaker about the issue, and accused Fearne of abusing of his parliamentary privilege.