Simon Busuttil tells PN MPs he has no intention of running for leader

Former Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil has insisted with parliamentary colleagues there is no such notion as a 'Simon camp' within the party as the PN tries to regroup ahead of May's European Parliament election

Delia and the other MPs accepted Busuttil’s statement and agreed to work to stifle and overcome rumours that the party was divided
Delia and the other MPs accepted Busuttil’s statement and agreed to work to stifle and overcome rumours that the party was divided

Former Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil has told his parliamentary colleagues that he has no intention or aspiration to ever run for a party position, MaltaToday has learnt.

Members of the PN parliamentary group told this newspaper that, in a five-hour meeting on Monday, the MPs had discussed the accusations brought up in December against current leader Adrian Delia.

Delia has been facing calls for his resignation ever since it emerged from court documents that his wife had accused him of domestic violence towards her and their children. The couple, who have five children together, are currently going through an acrimonious separation.

Since the allegations were made public, a series of leaked videos and recordings, as well as screenshots seemingly taken from Delia’s phone have been doing the rounds on social media.

Monday was the first PN parliamentary group meeting of the year. The discussion – though heated and animated at times – appears to have been ably directed by Delia, who allowed everyone to vent their concerns and opinions on a number of issues.

Busuttil, the sources said, made it clear that he had no intention or wish whatsoever of ever running for a party post, while attacking members of the parliamentary group – and party members and supporters – who continued to promote the notion of a ‘Simon camp’ within the PN.

Delia and the other MPs accepted Busuttil’s statement and agreed to work to stifle and overcome rumours that the party was divided. They also agreed the party needed to better highlight the big divisions and cliques within the Labour Party and the Labour benches in the House of Representatives.

MPs told MaltaToday that questions were raised as to the suitability of Delia as leader.

Beppe Fenech Adami also raised the issue of the accusations brought against Delia. The former deputy leader is reported to have asked Delia to determine whether he was comfortable fighting the accusations in his role as leader, whether the party was being negatively affected because of the accusations and whether members of the parliamentary group were being unjustly caught in the crossfire.

The sources said Delia insisted that the accusations were nothing but a concerted and well-planned campaign aimed at harming him and the PN. The emergence of professionally-edited videos attested to the organisation behind the attacks, he said, while vowing to fight on.

An intervention by Claudio Grech – calling for the party to get together to determine where it was going and what it wanted to achieve – appears to have been well-received by all present. Even Delia welcomed Grech’s call for the party to draw up a clear and concise strategy for a way forward.

The meeting wound up with a general consensus on the need for the group to meet more frequently and to focus on the ideals and proposals that brought them all together, rather than highlighting issues that could be divisive.

Such a stance is even more crucial in the run-up to the elections for the European Parliament in May, as the party struggles to hang on to its three seats and avoid losing further ground to Labour.

ANALYSIS: Adrian Delia: The truce after the victory

More in National