Parliament • Mizzi demands suspension of Pullicino, De Marco calls for calm

Deputy Speaker throws out request by transport minister Joe Mizzi to suspend Nationalist MP George Pullicino.

The Deputy Speaker Censu Galea tonight turned down a request for the suspension of Nationalist MP George Pullicino after he asked family minister Marie Louise Coleiro Preca to be concise in her reply to a parliamentary question.

Earlier, Galea suspended the sitting after the Nationalist MP interrupted Coleiro Preca as she was taking her time to reply a parliamentary question.

"As far as I know this is Question Time and not Lecture Time," Pullicino said as he raised a point of order while the Coleiro Preca was replying to a question over her ministry's work in regards to vulnerable families.

Ruling that Pullicino's comments were "unacceptable," Galea said that the question Coleiro Preca was answering demanded a lengthy reply and was on the verge of trespassing the acceptable time limit.

Galea asked Pullicino to clarify his earlier remarks; however he said that there are no grounds to suspend the Nationalist MP.

In his clarification, Pullicino said that he was not pointing his finger to anybody in particular but insisted that government should respect previous rulings which asked for concise answers.

As the sitting resumed, opposition leader Simon Busuttil attempted to lighten up the tense mood which descended on the House by wishing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and opposition MP Kristy Debono a happy birthday. 

Busuttil’s comments successfully brought a smile on the faces of all MPs and the Deputy Speaker jokingly asked whether MPs would be throwing a party to celebrate the double birthday. 

The sitting's suspension was triggered by the family minister's replies to a series of questions which lasted just over 10 minutes. As she replied a question by government whip Carmelo Abela, Pullicino insisted that the government was "wasting time" and asked wheteher this was a ploy by government to avoid answering some particular question in this evening's sitting. Pullicino said that previous rulings made it clear that answers to Parliamentary Questions should be concise.

This provoked an angry reaction from transport minister Joe Mizzi who in his inimitable style asked the Speaker to give a ruling and name Pullicino for making "false allegations."

In a series of point of orders raised by MPs on both sides of the House, Pullicino explained that he was not referring to Coleiro Preca in particular but he stressed that he was speaking in the plural.

This was even worse, Mizzi said because Pullicino "is implying that all MP's are taking the House for a ride." He went on to ask Deputy Speaker Censu Galea to give a ruling and decide whether Pullicino should be suspended for his remarks.

On hearing this, PN deputy leader Mario de Marco attempted to restore calm by saying that "the people deserved better."

Pointing out that the government benches were consistently trying to jolt the opposition bt invoking parliamentary proceedings, de Marco said that Mizzi was arguing that while "Minister Coleiro Preca was not abusing her right to the freedom of speech, Honorable Pullicino was abusing from this very same freedom."

Accusing Mizzi of "turning things on their head," de Marco asked for calm and said that such antics "not only dishonoured the House, but the people."

Calling on government to respect and uphold everybody's freedom of speech, he said "I support what Honorable Pullicino said and I therefore ask Mr Speaker to give a ruling on all opposition MPs."

"If Minister Mizzi insists on asking for a ruling, he can name all opposition MPs for exercising our freedom of speech," de Marco said.

De Marco's assertion was supported by PN leader Simon Busuttil who said "if Minister Mizzi insist on asking for Honorable Pullicino to be named, I associate myself with Honorable Pullicino's comments and I then ask to be named alongside all other opposition MPs."

Naming an MP is the process through which the Speaker or one of his deputies proposes a vote on the suspension of a member of the House if the Speaker believes that the MP breached the rules of conduct of the House.

Usually this is only done if the member has already been ordered to leave the House (which automatically leads to suspension for the remainder of that day) and refused to do so, or has committed a serious breach of conduct, and carries a suspension of up to five days.

George get a life and get on a diet as well .
Back we go to the days that one cannot open one's mouth, and to the 'salvagizmu' that you can expect from members of the Labour Party. Welcome to the 70s all over again...
Back we go to the days that one cannot open one's mouth, and to the 'salvagizmu' that you can expect from members of the Labour Party. Welcome to the 70s all over again...
Mhux ahjar George Pullicino jirrispondi ghal dak li gie rrappurtat fil-gazzetti fuq il-ksur tal-ligi u t-tbazwir lis ar fit-twaqqiegh u l-bini mill-gdid tal-impjant ghar-rickklagg f'Sant'Antnin Wied il-Ghajn, ftit metri l-boghod mir-residenti? Mhux ahjar iwiegeb ghal dak li qal l-ex Awditur tal-MEPA meta ddikjara fl-istess rapport li George Pullicino bhala Ministru kien jattendi laqghat mal-aggufdikaturital-progett tieghu stess minghajr ma nzammu minuti ta x'kien qed ikun diskuss? Il-p-oplu specjalment ir-residentit Marsaskala dan li qed jistenna minghnd l-ex Ministru George Pullicino u mhux dawn il-hmerijiet!!!
Kien ikollhom bicca xoghol mhux hazin biex jitfghuh 'il barra ghax Alla jbierku mhux hazin. Nahseb li kif konna nghidu qabel, kien ikollhom igibu l-krejn ta' Roger.
Joe Mizzi would jump at any opportunity to stifle the Opposition. He has always been totally anti-democratic in his nature and very uncouth. As Dr De Marco said..."the people deserve better".
George Pullicino you remind me so much of a Puffer Fish .
These are the same situations in Malta's Parliament outlined by the same individuals who created these same situations in the 80s when this same PL was in government. So far??? the PN had not yet boycotted parliament as it did in the 80s.If anyone thinks that the PN has changed,he is very mistaken.