[WATCH] Fearne to stay on as deputy leader for parliamentary affairs

Chris Fearne to stay on as Labour deputy leader following his resignation in the wake of impending criminal charges against him and others over the Vitals Global Healthcare hospitals deal

Prime Minister Robert Abela (Photo: Kurt Sansone/MaltaToday)
Prime Minister Robert Abela (Photo: Kurt Sansone/MaltaToday)
Prime Minister Robert Abela outlines Chris Fearne's future in his government

Chris Fearne is to remain the Labour Party's Deputy Leader for Parliamentary Affairs, after having tendered his resignation as deputy prime minister on Friday.

Fearne resigned in the wake of the conclusions of the magisterial Inquiry into the sale of three public hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare, which recommended Fearne, and others, face criminal charges.

Answering questions from reporters after a meeting of Labour’s parliamentary group, convened less than 24 hours after Fearne's resignation from Cabinet, Prime Minister Robert Abela said that for the time being, Fearne will remain deputy leader of the party. Fearne's replacement as nominee for European Commissioner will be decided at a later stage, Abela said.

The Prime Minister's remarks seem to imply that no decision about these two issues will be taken until the European Parliament election on 8 June.

When asked about his future as deputy leader, Fearne replied that it was a matter for the party to decide internally.

None of the other Labour MPs gave comments as they left the meeting.

Fearne announced his resignation yesterday, after news of impending criminal charges against him -and other prominent figures from the Muscat government - broke on Monday.

In the coming days, Fearne is expected to be charged with misappropriation and defrauding the government in his capacity as health minister between 2016 and 2024.

Former prime minister Joseph Muscat and former minister Konrad Mizzi are also set to face serious charges, together with the Governor of the Central Bank of Malta, Edward Scicluna, who was Malta’s finance minister until 2020.

The charges were issued after the conclusion of a four-year magisterial inquiry into the Vitals Global Healthcare hospitals deal, which was struck down by the civil court last year.