Franco Debono makes surprise studio visit to confront radio show guest over comments

The outspoken former PN MP strenuously denied guest's claim that he was attempting to impose his leadership of the party as a condition of his return to politics

Franco Debono speaking at the RTK studio
Franco Debono speaking at the RTK studio

Lawyer Franco Debono made an unscripted appearance on a popular discussion radio to rebut earlier comments by a guest who had criticised the way that Debono was hinting at the possibility of him returning to politics.

During a guest appearance on Andrew Azzopardi’s Saturday morning discussion show, the PN's lawyer Edward Debono alleged that fellow lawyer and former PN MP, Franco Debono, was considering a return to the PN, but was attempting to impose the condition that he be involved in its leadership.

He told the host that in a Facebook post by Franco Debono, he had said that nothing should be excluded with regards to his reintegration into the PN, or even as part of the running of the party. Edward Debono said that this was “not correct” of Franco Debono. 

Journalists from several local newsrooms have been unable to trace the Facebook post in question which could have been deleted.

The remark led to a surprise unscheduled visit to the studio by Franco Debono, a few minutes later. He denied having ever stipulated party leadeship as a condition, although he has made no secret about being open to the possibility of contesting national or MEP elections on a PN ticket.

“I tolerate opinions but I don’t tolerate lies,” he told the bemused host, who allowed him to speak nonetheless. “I was at home and I came here to confront him in person about his lies and ask him to explain where I had imposed a condition or even expressed a wish to become PN leader.”

“I am not going to tolerate people lying about me. I was at home. I have work to do,” Debono said, before thanking Andrew Azzopardi for allowing him to come on the show.

Franco Debono said that scientific surveys which he had paid for, as well as other “non scientific surveys carried out by Lovin Malta”, showed that “many people out there, including PN voters, want me to be in the PN leadership.” 

He called upon the previous speaker to take back the “total lie” that he had just said on air.

“I made no condition and neither did I express any wishes,” insisted Debono.

The outspoken lawyer said he had support from the party grassroots. “People like Edward Debono are a small clique who have held the party back.”

Franco Debono said that he held no ill-will towards his fellow lawyer. “I still refer to him as a friend of mine…I reach out to everyone, even those who are incorrect and Edward Debono was very incorrect…” Franco Debono said, adding that he was categorically denying Edward Debono’s statement about him.

On Facebook yesterday, Nationalist MP Alex Borg had endorsed Franco Debono and encouraged him to continue to move towards the PN, saying he “has much to offer” in a post featuring a photo of him with the former MP, taken earlier this week after a meeting between the two. 

In comments to the MaltaToday, later on Saturday, Franco Debono reiterated that he had not asked to be made PN leader. “There already is a leader and I support him,” he said.