Robert Abela blasts ‘diabolical’ Labour leadership pact

Labour leadership deal crumbles after Robert Abela objects to Ian Borg becoming deputy prime minister over his links to Keith Schembri, sources tell MaltaToday

Labour MP Robert Abela
Labour MP Robert Abela

A leadership deal to avoid a bruising contest in the Labour Party was scuppered after Robert Abela expressed serious reservations on Ian Borg’s suitability.

The deal was being pushed by senior party exponents and had the blessing of outgoing leader Joseph Muscat, sources in the party told MaltaToday.

It would have installed Chris Fearne as leader without a bruising contest and have Robert Abela and Ian Borg elected as deputy leaders.

Borg was earmarked for deputy prime minister, something Abela objected to because of the Transport Minister’s proximity to the disgraced Keith Schembri.

Attempts to contact Abela so far have been futile, to confirm claims by insiders that the MP was gunning for the post of deputy prime minister, and that his Facebook post was a reaction to being spurned on any future leadership deal.

In a damning Facebook post this afternoon, Abela said he was not ready to partake in “a diabolical pact” to buy himself a comfortable seat in power.

“[I cannot] be burdened with… compromises that tie my hands even before I start,” Abela said. “Is it possible that we have learnt nothing?”

Sources speaking to MaltaToday claimed that Ian Borg was viewed “as having been very close to Keith Schembri, a proposition that becomes very toxic in the current environment.” 

The man Schembri allegedly used to pass on a message to the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspects, Kenneth Camilleri, had been employed with Transport Malta, an agency that falls within Borg’s remit.