[WATCH] Uncomfortable Vella insists there was no reason to resign despite moral reservations on IVF

President George Vella says he will be at liberty to reveal the ‘full story’ once out of the presidency

President George Vella
President George Vella

President George Vella is insisting there was no reason for him to resign despite having moral reservations on the IVF changes approved by parliament.

Parliament approved legislation allowing pre-implantation genetic testing on embryos for inheritable diseases on 6 July but Vella did not sign the act into law immediately as required by the Constitution. It was left to Acting President Frank Bezzina to give his assent to the act last week, just as Vella travelled to Birmingham.

Asked by reporters whether he should have resigned from his office, rather than leave it up to his stand-in to sign on the law, an uncomfortable Vella insisted on Wednesday there was no need for him to resign.

“The facts are known by everybody […] there was no need for me to resign, your opinion is subjective,” he told reporters at the end of a press event during which he unveiled the charity event Rockestra.

In 2018, when not an MP, Vella, a former foreign minister, had dubbed Labour’s regularisation of embryo freezing “a complete travesty of morality”.

Challenged about his constitutional duty to sign any bill that arrives at his desk, Vella said that he is not free to reveal all about how things went down.

“We will come out with the full story, once we have more liberty to speak freely, once out of the presidency,” Vella said cryptically.

He played down calls for his resignation from Opposition leader Bernard Grech and ADPD, saying that he would not judge other people’s comments.

Asked whether his move could potentially undermine the public’s respect for the presidency, Vella said that “it depends on how much people were ready to tarnish it [the presidency].”