[WATCH] The hardest word for Labour? ‘Joseph Muscat has already apologised’

Labour Party deputy leader Daniel MIcallef says former PM Joseph Muscat ‘paid the highest political price’ by resigning in 2019 

Labour Party deputy leader Daniel MIcallef on Reno Bugeja Jistaqsi
Labour Party deputy leader Daniel MIcallef on Reno Bugeja Jistaqsi

Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has “already apologised for wrongdoings” that happened on his watch, Labour Party deputy leader for party affairs Daniel Micallef has said.   

“The Prime Minister with the largest majority in history, shouldered responsibility and resigned,” he said of Muscat’s actions in the December 2019 political crisis. 

But on Reno Bugeja Jistaqsi, Micallef stopped short from accepting that Labour should apologise for defending Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri through the years, who is now facing charges of corruption. 

Micallef said the party has always been consistent in its approach. “We wait for the judicial process to run its course, we then base our position on the outcome,” he said.   

He also insisted criminals will not find refuge in the Labour Party.  “Those people who act wrongly, will not find refuge with the Prime Minister, myself or the Labour Party,” he said.   

Micallef said Muscat will not feature in the party’s campaign for the upcoming general election. “The last party leader to have his predecessor featured during the election campaign did not fare so well.”  

He hit out at the Nationalist Party for acting “as if it had done no wrongdoing” during its time at the helm of the country. “We discuss pardons with the police commissioner, others discuss pardons with criminals,” he said, in a reference to former PM Eddie Fenech Adami’s late-night 1994 meeting with Joseph Fenech, for a pardon on the attempted murder of Richard Cachia Caruana. 

Even conceding that former PN leader Simon Busuttil had been right in his criticism of the Labour administration, comes with its provisos. “He might have been right in some instances, but there were a lot of instances where he was wrong,” Micallef said, accusing Busuttil of using his EPP role in Brussels to push MEPs into debating latest revelations surrounding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. “What did we gain from this debate?... Simon Busutill was bothering people within his party so much, that they even leaked his final speech during the last election.” 

Micallef has once again confirmed he was fully in favour of the introduction of euthanasia in Malta, and even said he would be at the forefront of such a debate. “But I am not in favour of euthanasia being put on the party’s electoral manifesto as it will not be properly debated and ends up politicised,” he said.   

He also said that while he is not fully in favour, he finds no issue with debating abortion. “I prefer to live in a country where you have abortion and no one uses it. That is how a policy’s success is calculated.”