Opposition walks out of Parliament, Muscat insists nobody yet accused with assassination

Opposition MPs stage walk-out from House of Representatives as embattled PM defends police force and investigations into Caruana Galizia assassination

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

The Opposition has walked out of the House of Representatives in protest at what it said was Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s refusal to shoulder political responsibility for the implication of his chief of staff Keith Schembri in the assassination of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Parliament broke up into a noisy outburst of protest as PN leader Adrian Delia announced his party would no longer speak to a “government that has lots its legitimacy, since the prime minister does not recognise his political responsibility.”

In a short ministerial statement, Muscat told the House of Representatives his government would be ensuring that the Caruana Galizia murder case would be closed, whatever the consequences.

“That’s what we will keep on doing… our institutions are working, and the police is doing its job and in full independence,” he said to protests from the Opposition benches.

“If Delia thinks I should resign, he can move a vote of no confidence in me, and we’ll decide on that inside this House, democratically and with the institutional tools of what he says is the highest organ of the country.”

Delia countered, accusing Muscat of having used different weights and measures for other ministers who had been culpable of far less graver offences while in government. “He did not take the same decision with his chief of staff. If the PM did not have the slightest decency to sack him, but indeed he thanked someone accused of assassination, then if his message to the people is that we should thank law-breakers, our country truly cannot be worse off.”

At this point, Muscat interjected strongly, insisting that nobody had been accused of assassination in the ensuring investigations.

“We cannot at this stage - for any private citizen, whoever they are - bandy about accusations like these. When the decisive moment comes, I will have no problem to talk about it,” he said.