Vassallo tells Delia to dismiss kingmakers and yes-men

The outspoken MP said Adrian Delia would be tested every da in his role and needed 'someone like me because I have the moral fibre to stand up and not be a yes-man'

Edwin Vassallo: Delia is speaking my language on values and free votes
Edwin Vassallo: Delia is speaking my language on values and free votes

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia must distance himself from the ‘kingmakers’ surrounding him and work at becoming his own man, Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo told MaltaToday.

Vassallo, a former minister, yesterday announced he would be running for deputy leader for parliamentary affairs. The PN whip David Agius has already announced he would be contesting the position.

“At this time, I feel it is my duty and responsibility to help the party which is calling on me to play my part in bringing the party together and winning back people’s trust,” Vassallo said. “Together with my colleagues in the new administration, I can provide a shoulder for the new leader to lean on.”

Vassallo told MaltaToday he had been quite frank with Delia during a meeting, but insisted the leader had made him feel very welcome and appreciated.

“I told Delia that even though I had supported Chris Said in the leadership contest, my loyalty would still be to the party and the leader, as it has always been,” he said.

“And when I told him that I was aware I could not be expected to play a major role in his team after having backed Said, Delia quite frankly told me not to jump to conclusions.”

Vassallo said Delia asked him for advice on how to help the PN regain the trust of traditional supporters. It was then that Vassallo said he would be running for the deputy leadership, unless Said too decided to contest the post.

“In that case, I will immediately pull out of the race, because it has always been the custom for the leadership runner-up to assume a deputy leadership role in the party,” he said.

Vassallo however admitted there was little good will from either side to see this happen.

Vassallo said it was normal for Delia to be still surrounded with his loyal supporters. “The kingmakers are hovering around him now, but at some point he needs to be his own man. The worst thing he can do is to surround himself with yes-men who are only in it for personal gain.”

The outspoken MP, the only one to vote against the marriage equality bill in June despite the Whip’s instruction to vote in favour, said Delia would be tested every day. “Someone like Delia needs someone like me because I have the moral fibre to stand up and not be a yes-man. Delia needs people who will tell him when he’s wrong and I sincerely wish to help him become better.”

Vassallo also said he identified with Delia’s message on values, morals and a free vote for MPs. “He’s talking about things that I value and he’s speaking my language. This is a leap of faith and we must give Delia the benefit of the doubt that he actually means well.”