Grech insists whole parliamentary group was involved PGT discussion before vote

Opposition leader Bernard Grech insists on PN pro-life stance • Nationalist leader suggests individuals within the Labour Party have business interests in Valletta

Nationalist leader Bernard Grech
Nationalist leader Bernard Grech

Opposition leader Bernard Grech has insisted everyone in the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group was involved in the discussion surrounding IVF legislation amendments.

“We wanted to ensure that there was not rampant abuse. We wanted to guarantee that the list of nine conditions is not a window of opportunity where all embryos with disabilities are discarded,” he said.

The Nationalist Party (PN) leader was interviewed on party radio station NET FM, and was asked for his reaction following the vote which saw embryo genetic testing receiving parliamentary approval.

The amendments will widen accessibility to IVF but more importantly introduce pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT) for nine hereditary diseases. PGT will allow doctors to choose only healthy embryos for transfer into the woman’s womb, while the defective ones will be kept frozen.

The amendments were approved with 66 votes in favour and three against. Former Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia and Opposition MPs Alex Borg and Ivan Bartolo, disregarded the party Whip and voted against the amendments.

But despite reports on internal quarrels within the PN over the issue, Grech insisted on the party’s unified approach on the procedure.

“IVF legislation was introduced by the PN in 2012, and it was amended twice. Recent amendments saw the introduction of PGTM, and the PN want to ensure the right parameters are in place,” Grech insisted.

READ ALSO: President Vella does not budge, insists the presidency will sign IVF law

He said the party stressed that polar body testing, where oocytes are genetically tested before fertilisation, is also in place. “In that way you are offering prospective parents, who do not want to discard embryos, another option.”

“Parents and individuals who want to become parents have both tests available to them. In that way we have less embryos which are frozen,” Grech said.

He did insist on the PN’s pro-life stance, stating the party wanted to ensure that the list of genetic conditions is only amended through a legal notice.

Individuals within the Labour Party have business interests in Valletta

Speaking on the recent outrage allowing late night outdoor music in Valletta, the PN leader suggested that individuals within the PL’s ranks have business interests in the capital, and new rules benefit them.

In a motion put forward in parliament earlier this week, government MPs voted in favour of retaining the rules.

Grech slammed the decision, saying they have no respect towards the residents, business owners and individuals who invested in Valletta.

READ ALSO: Valletta’s anger is about more than just ‘noise’

“Even the MDA and the MHRA have come out against the project. Who did government consult with? All they care about is money,” he said.

The PN leader stated government wants to turn Valletta into a new Paceville.

“Government proved us right on AUM” – Bernard Grech

Bernard Grech also said that after Parliament agreed to take back 45,000sq.m of land at Smart City, part of which will be leased out to the American University of Malta, the PN was proved right on the project.

“We have always been clear in our position. That land should have been given to Sadeen,” he said. “Robert Abela’s government should not expect any gratitude for the return. It is a failed project. It is not true that we have a university or the thousands of students which were promised to us.”

He said the Labour government promised Malta a “dream”, but failed to deliver.

“Land is lent to us, and we must protect it for future generations. Labour in government is bound by secret agreements to help their friends,” Grech said.