[WATCH] Mizzi: offered to resign deputy post, left Cabinet decision in PM’s hands

Konrad Mizzi: 'I am not a minister without a portfolio. I am a minister within the Office of the Prime Minister'

Minister Konrad Mizzi participating at The Economist Mediterranean Leadership Summit (Photo: Chris Mangion)
Minister Konrad Mizzi participating at The Economist Mediterranean Leadership Summit (Photo: Chris Mangion)
Konrad Mizzi refuses to declare whether he offered to resign as minister

"The Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister" confirmed he offered his resignation as deputy leader of the Labour Party but refused to confirm whether he had offered his resignation as minister for energy and health.

In his first comments to the media since he was stripped off of his portfolios, Konrad Mizzi also insisted he was "not a minister without a portfolio but a minister within the Office of the Prime Minister".

Mizzi this afternoon attended The Economist's Mediterranean Leadership Summit during which he spoke of Malta's energy plans. His panel included Azeri energy minister, Natig Aliyev.

"The fact is that I offered my resignation as deputy leader of the Labour Party. I did it out of my loyalty for the party. It was the Prime Minister who decided what should happen to my portfolio. I am willing to serve and I am proud to work closely with Dr Muscat," Mizzi said.

Mizzi avoided repeated questions on whether he had offered his resignation as minister, reiterating that he had always trusted Joseph Muscat to take the decision he deemed fit.

"We had conversations on the different scenarios," Mizzi insisted. "Dr Muscat studied the various scenarios and weighed the different options and he took the decision he deemed fit. I respect his decision."

"Had he told me to move on and resign from parliament, I would have resigned my seat in parliament and walked back to private practice."

He rubbished suggestions that holding no portfolios was more humiliating than being asked to resign: "I am not a minister without portfolio. I am a minister within the Office of the Prime Minister. I am proud to work closely with Dr Muscat and focus on key strategic initiatives."

Mizzi argued that the portfolios had changed and new ministries created: "We are moving forward. The most difficult decision was leaving the deputy leadership of the party."

Asked whether he would be dealing personally with Azerbaijan, Mizzi reiterated that he had "a clear portfolio" which would see him working directly with the Prime Minister as the latter would identify the key projects Mizzi should focus on. These will also include PPPs in different sectors, including health.

On his Panamanian company, Mizzi confirmed that the company will be dissolved once the audit has been completed. He refused to delve into the matter further, arguing that he had already delivered his comments in parliament.

Muscat's chief of staff Keith Schembri was also embroiled in the Panama Papers revelations. The minister refuted suggestions that he had been made "a scapegoat" whilst Schembri kept his position.

"Keith Schembri is an asset for the country and I feel privileged to be working with him every day on various initiatives. I am happy that the Prime Minister made the right decision to keep Keith Schembri as his chief of staff because Keith [Schembri] was instrumental for this country's economic growth."

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