‘No urgency’ for PN no-confidence motion on Zammit Lewis, Speaker rules

Speaker says lack of definition of ‘urgency’ in Standing Orders and opposition from government for confidence motion means PN’s motion for immediate sitting can be turned down

Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia
Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia

The Speaker of the House has turned down a request for an extraordinary sitting of the House, currently in recess, for a motion of no confidence against justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis, after Whatsapp chats revealed that he chatted with Yorgen Fenech during the fallout of 17 Black in 2019.

Speaker Anglu Farrugia said there was no agreement from the government side to hold the sitting, citing Standing Orders which, he said, had no definition of what constitutes “urgency”, and could therefore only be guided by House rules on what debate could be determined as being of “public importance”.

But Farrugia went as far as saying that a parliamentary debate to discuss this motion was not a matter of “urgency” and could not be granted as requested, since there was no government agreement for an immediate sitting on the motion.

“The Speaker considers whether the motion has the neessary elements for the Chamber to discuss the matter at hand, if it is indeed a definite matter of public importance, and whether the urgency is such that it requires an immediate debate before it is too late,” Farrugia said, claiming that the PN motion on Zammit Lewis did not have such urgency.

In the chats Zammit Lewis referred to Labour supporters as “stupid Labourites” (laburist ġaħan) in a exchange with Yorgen Fenech himself.

The party described this motion as “the first test for Labour's parliamentary group to show that they have learned their lesson and that they are really willing to work in the national interest”.