Farrugia’s no-confidence motion against Mizzi to be discussed on Wednesday

No-confidence motion presented by independent MP Marlene Farrugia will be discussed on Wednesday

The House Business Committee agrees to discuss a no confidence motion against Konrad Mizzi on Wednesday
The House Business Committee agrees to discuss a no confidence motion against Konrad Mizzi on Wednesday

A no-confidence motion against Minister Konrad Mizzi tabled by independent MP Marlene Farrugia will be discussed on Wednesday, at the government's suggestion.

A discussion ensued on the time to be allocated for the motion, with the government first proposing three hours and a half. Both Marlene Farrugia and the opposition insisted that more time would be needed and a compromise was eventually reached for five hours.

“I’m sure that the government will find a lot to talk about and I am certain that the Prime Minister’s decision merits an in-depth discussion … it’s obvious that there is a lot to talk about,” the independent MP told the House Business Committee.

The next obstacle was deciding whether it would be between from 4pm to 9pm – as proposed by the opposition – or between 5pm and 10pm, as proposed by the government. Marlene Farrugia categorically refused to have the debate finish at 10pm.

Following a temporary suspension of the committee to allow the government side to deliberate privately, it was eventually decided to go for 4.30pm to 9.30pm. There will be no parliamentary questions or adjournment and a vote will be taken at the end of the sitting.

Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis argued that, despite technically being two separate motions, in essence the debate remained the same.

Marlene Farrugia, who broke ranks with the Labour Party, forged ahead with the motion against the minister without portfolio.

Dubbing the Prime Minister’s action against Mizzi over the Panama Papers revelations as “a cosmetic change”, she said that there was still a Cabinet member who opened a company in Panama and the debate should not stop until “action is taken”.

In other House business, the Speaker also advised both government and opposition to stop drinking coffees and teas inside the Chamber. An exception will be made for those who need to deliver a long speech.

Farrugia explained to both sides that several technical problems, including with the electronic voting system, is suspected to have been caused by liquids seeping through the technological equipment on the MPs’ tables.

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