Labour MPs close ranks as Chris Fearne announces leadership bid

Majority of Labour MPs take to Facebook to endorse leadership bid by deputy PM Chris Fearne

Chris Fearne
Chris Fearne

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne is the first Labour MP to announce he would contest the Labour leadership.

In a Facebook post containing a long list of pledges, Fearne's first promise is that he would see that "the whole truth comes out and that justice is done."

"I will see that the country's institutions are led with integrity, independence and separate from one another. I will carry the weight that the country needs me to shoulder," Fearne said.

He added that he would clear Malta's name from stains incurred in the previous weeks and under the shadow of Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder investigation. 

"I am Maltese. I am a Labourite... I am ready to give my life for this country and this party," he said. 

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Transport Minister Ian Borg said in a Facebook post that he supported Fearne's bid. "I thought a lot... the courage that you gave me gives me further strength and energy to keep working for this country," he wrote.

It is widely known that Fearne enjoyed wide support with the cabinet and the Labour parliamentary group. 

Justice Minister Owen Bonnici submitted a post in which he declared his support for Fearne moments after the latter announced his candidature. 

"I believe that Chris Fearne is the ideal person to lead the Labour Party and the government in the right direction. I fully endorse Chris Fearne. This is a moment of unity, unity within the Labour Party and the government. I myself will be pulling up my sleeves and keep working harder than ever before," he said.

Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis congratulated Fearne and said that he's the person best positioned to lead the party in a time of difficulty.

"There comes a moment in political life that you have to forget yourself and think only of the party and the country. Now is that moment," Zammit Lewis said, adding that Fearne's decision will lead to a party better united than before.

Labour backbencher Glenn Bedingfield reiterated Zammit Lewis's sentiment, saying that now was the moment to put personal interests aside. "This is a moment to endorse one of us who is ready to lead the party, Chris Fearne," he said.

Planning parliamentary secretary said that he has known Fearne for many years since they worked together in the socialist group for youths and that he had always seen honesty and seriousness in him. He too endorsed him.

Fisheries parliamentary secretary Clint Camilleri said he supported Fearne. "I declare my loyalty to who in the coming days will be the new leader of our country," he said.

Family Minister Michael Falzon thanked Fearne and congratulated him for the decision he took to announce his bid.

Reforms parliamentary secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli made reference to Fearne's medical profession and said that Malta needed to heal its wounds. "They say you're too clinical. I understand this because that's what your profession asks of you. It doesn't bother me at all because what we need right now is for us to be clinical and see that where there's wrong, we say it's wrong."

Konrad Mizzi, the recently resigned Tourism Minister and once leader hopeful, has endorsed Fearne as well, saying that now is the moment for the Labour Party to unite as one single, steadfast force. "At this stage, I believe only Fearne can do this and for this reason, I support him," he said.

Leadership nominations open this Monday and close on Wednesday. A general conference will be held on 6 and 7 January and, if there are more than two candidates, a vote will be taken. The two candidates who receive the most votes will then face a vote at PL Congress on 11th January.