Prime Minister to present motion for Delia’s co-option on Wednesday, if all goes to plan

The House Business Committee met today, ahead of the re-opening of parliament tonight to plan the parliamentary schedule for the coming month

Joseph Muscat will be preparing a parliamentary motion for the co-option of PN leader Adrian Delia to the house, 'if all goes to plan'.
Joseph Muscat will be preparing a parliamentary motion for the co-option of PN leader Adrian Delia to the house, 'if all goes to plan'.

If all goes to plan, the Prime Minister will be preparing a parliamentary motion for the co-option of Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia to the house.

During a meeting of the Parliamentary House Business Committee, Opposition whip David Agius said that while one could not plan given tomorrow’s casual election, the Opposition’s intention was for the candidate elected in tomorrow’s election to replace MP Jean-Pierre Debono, to speak in parliament tomorrow evening and to offer his resignation to the speaker.

Both sides of the house agreed to waive the standard three-day notice period, and to have a motion for Delia’s co-option to be put forward on Wednesday.

Representing the government during the session were deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, whip Byron Camilleri and Edward Zammit Lewis, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Deputy leader for parliamentary affairs Mario De Marco and whip David Agius represented the Opposition.

Speaker Anglu Farrugia said that as long as the House received an official election result tomorrow, it would have no problem with the elected candidate to take his oath on the same day.

With the national budget being presented next week, Government whip Byron Camilleri said that the time for parliament to legislate over the course of the next month will be limited.

The committee agreed that parliament would tonight discuss amendments to the Competition Act, and would move on to amendments to the Public Administration Act on Tuesday and Wednesday.   

Camilleri said that if the debate on the Public Administration Act were to be concluded earlier than expected, the two sides would discuss which bill would be discussed by the House next.

Also on the agenda were a number of procedural issues on the electronic voting system using during plenary sessions, with neither side raising any objections.

Asked whether the House still intended to set up a sub-committee on irregular migration, both whips said they were not in a position to provide a decision and would be consulting internally beforehand.

The Speaker also pointed out that according to the Sustainable Development Act, the House needed to discuss the 2015 and 2016 reports on sustainable development, which were tabled in parliament last July. Again, both sides said they could not yet suggest a date for the debate but would be doing so in due course.

With the annual Notte Bianca festivities taking place this weekend, both sides agreed that MPs would be present in the evening in order to meet the public at parliament.   

It was also agreed that state TV camera crew would be allowed into the chamber during the first three budget sessions as has happened in recent years. The decision was taken because despite the fact that parliament was now in a position to broadcast its own coverage, it was not technically able to provide coverage of the same quality as the national broadcasters.

Finally, the Speaker requested that the committee find time to discuss the financial plan for Parliament which was drawn up according to the law passed during the last legislature for parliament to become autonomous.

The plan, said Farrugia, was drawn up in consultation with the minister and included an overview of parliament’s expected expenses running up to 2020. He said that a discussion needed to be held not only to agree upon the allocation of funds but also to discuss and clarify and issues or observations.