‘I suffered a fatwa’ – Jason Azzopardi says PN wanted him to resign

“They told me I was a burden, toxic, a dead-weight, that the PN would advance in the polls if I stand down.”

Jason Azzopardi
Jason Azzopardi

The former Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi has accused Opposition leader Bernard Grech of “placing him under a fatwa”, and that under his leadership the party tried to encourage him to resign or not contest the 2022 election.

Azzopardi, speaking to Andrew Azzopardi on 103FM, said a member from the PN’s strategy group had approached him in 2021, requesting him to resign his seat “so that the party can advance in the polls... winning 15,000 votes just like that.”

“I could have thrown this person right out the balcony window,” Azzopardi said. “They told me I was a burden, toxic, a dead-weight, that the PN would advance in the polls if I stand down.”

Azzopardi failed to get re-elected in 2022.

Azzopardi also said Bernard Grech, whom he claims demoted him from his traditional justice portfolio in a bid to sideline him, was the only person not to send him a message of support when he was threatened in an open court by Caruana Galizia murderer George Degiorgio ‘iċ-Ċiniż’.

“Even Labour MPs sent me messages of support... Simon Busuttil was constantly calling on me... Bernard Grech was the only one who did not send me a message of support,” Azzopardi said.

Azzopardi also blamed the newly-elected MP Mark Anthony Sammut, who was elected on his same fourth district constituency, of failing to defend him in a TV debate when then-minister Carmelo Abela claimed Azzopardi was “in bed with criminals”.

“Mark Anthony Sammut did not defend me once. Us oldtimers – us with the genuine, honest, correct PN DNA – we stick up for each other...

“And I know for a fact that Sammut had instructions from someone inside the PN’s information office, not to defend me should my name crop up in the programme.”

Azzopardi had claimed that Carmelo Abela had been offered €300,000 for information on HSBC access cards and internal footage of the bank. Abela was a manager at HSBC in 2010 when armed men entered the bank’s headquarters in Qormi after overpowering security. The heist was not successful after police on patrol got suspicious when they spotted the getaway car outside the bank. Abela has sued Azzopardi for libel. He has denied ever knowing the criminals alleging he was involved in the failed HSBC bank heist 11 years ago.