Bernard Grech admits Azzopardi-Delia spat harmed the Nationalist Party

'This week’s episode, which happened while a survey was taking place, did harm to the party'

Opposition leader Bernard Grech
Opposition leader Bernard Grech

A recent Facebook spat between two Nationalist MPs harmed the party and contributed to poor polling results this week, Bernard Grech said.

During an interview on the Nationalist Party's TV station, the Opposition leader acknowledged the poor polling results of his party in a recent MaltaToday survey, and admitted that the past week's events added fuel to the fire.

"Today we made no advancements. We suffered a fall-back, and that I acknowledge," Grech said. "Today's survey shows that people are not happy with what happened this week, and are not happy seeing needed changes."

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi this week won €1,000 in damages from Vincent Borg, aka Ċensu l-Iswed, over a claim the latter made on social media about the MP, a longtime opponent of Adrian Delia’s leadership.

As Azzopardi took to Facebook to announce the win, former party leader Adrian Delia hit out at him, challenging him to sue him for libel over a series of statements.

Grech went on to call for an executive council meeting to resolve the matter and potentially take action against the two for breaching the party's social media guidelines. However, the meeting was cancelled as the two MPs made peace, sending out a joint party statement in which Azzopardi declared that Delia ‘is not beholden to businesspersons’.

"The situation might have been better if I went ahead, maybe not. But we know for sure that this week's episode, which happened while a survey was taking place, did harm to the party. But let's not elude ourselves and think that this was the only reaosn that the survey gave us the results it gave."

He said that he remains determined to carry out whatever changes are necessary to make the party popular, but one must be honest about one's successes and failures.

"I haven't changed things as much as I would have liked to, but I'm determined to do so where necessary, and to continue to try and understand what the people are saying. It is clear that the people want us to be a united front - they don't enjoy arguments between us."

Grech said that the Nationalist Party will be more vigilant with government, and asserted that anyone who wants to strengthen the party and country under his leadership can enjoy a primary role in the party's work.

He pledged that, in government, the Nationalist Party will investigate any dubious contracts signed by government over the years, specifically contracts where there are clear shortcomings.

On recent attacks against the Standards Commissioner by Labour Party MPs, Grech said that this is because Robert Abela is afraid of the office because he can't control it.

“Robert Abela doesn’t want him to continue releasing the reports. Where he can control, he is happy, where he doesn’t, he attacks… I want the Standards Commissioner to continue doing his work on all politicians, including me and my MPs,” Grech said.