Speaker rules against urgent parliamentary debate on current 'crisis'

Opposition leader’s second call in as many days for an urgent debate on the political crisis has been turned down

Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia
Speaker of the House Anglu Farrugia

Speaker of the House, Anglu Farrugia, has again denied the Opposition's call for an urgent parliamentary debate in light of a developing political crisis.

Adrian Delia called for an urgent debate after two cabinet ministers, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona, resigned following continued investigations into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The reason for the ruling, Farrugia said, is that police investigations are ongoing. 

"I have no guarantee that the urgent debate would be controlled as to not prejudice the ongoing case," Farrugia said.

In the call for a ruling, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat should immediately resign.

But after deliberating in his chambers, the Speaker said this cannot be done at this instance.

“The House should not abandon its procedures required to move forward with a motion of no confidence. The procedures of permanent order should be respected,” Farrugia told the chambers.

Parliament was suspended for over an hour before the Speaker delivered the ruling. Reports say that there was significant commotion in the chamber when Farrugia left to deliberate. 

Some Labour ministers had to be restrained by fellow MPs when they crossed the floor to answer to cries of "mafia" from members of the Opposition.

Nationalist Party MP Karol Aquilina and independent MP Marlene Farrugia were purportedly the most vocal.

In the wake of the resignations of the Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the suspension of deputy leader Chris Cardona, Muscat is facing intense pressure to step down. 

The political crisis followed the arrest of Electrogas investor Yorgen Fenech. 

Proceedings calmed down soon after, however, as Labour MPs surrounded the Prime Minister in apparent solidarity and exchanged words and smiles.