Updated | Hermann Schiavone suspends himself from PN parliamentary group over Fenech meeting

Nationalist MP will become independent after suspending himself from PN group over meeting with Electrogas shareholder

Hermann Schiavone
Hermann Schiavone

Updated at 6pm with PL reaction

Opposition leader Adrian Delia has accepted the suspension of Nationalist MP and ally Hermann Schiavone from the PN parliamentary group, after he was revealed to have met Electrogas shareholder and Tumas Group magnate Yorgen Fenech.

Schiavone met Fenech, reportedly the owner of the Dubai offshore firm 17 Black, after setting up a meeting with a Tumas director to sponsor a conference, before being referred to Fenech himself.

READ ALSO: Adrian Delia hints that PN MPs' meeting with Yorgen Fenech may have been error of judgement

Fenech was revealed to have been the owner of 17 Black, a company connected to the Panama firms secretly set up by minister Konrad Mizzi and the prime minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri.

Schiavone will now be an independent MP inside the House of Representatives.

In his letter to Delia, Schiavone said Kristy Debono, the president of the PN general council, was unaware that she was about to meet Yorgen Fenech.

Schiavone said that the conference was still at planning stage and this is why he did not feel the need to inform the party leader of the logistical arrangements.

He asked the party to appoint a disciplinary board to investigate his actions.

Despite resigning from the PN parliamentary group, Schiavone pledged to continue toeing the party line in the House.

Fake suspension

The Labour Party said Schiavone's auto-suspension was "fake" and only intended to save his leader's skin. It insisted the PN was divided between two factions, one of which wanted Delia's scalp.

"The suspension of one of two persons who did the same thing together and who only did so after defending his actions and attacking all those who criticised him is fake... it is clear that this suspension is being used to stop PN MPs from hitting out at each other in public just weeks before an electoral appointment," the PL said.

The criticism was referring to comments posted online by PN MP Jason Azzopardi who openly criticised Debono and Schiavone for meeting Fenech because it undermined the party's stand on good governance.

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