Labour MP Robert Abela announces Labour leadership bid

Labour MP who served as consultant to Muscat in Cabinet will take on deputy PM Chris Fearne

Labour MP Robert Abela
Labour MP Robert Abela

Labour MP Robert Abela has announced a bid to run in the Labour leadershpi race, following Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s resignation.

In a Facebook post, Abela said he was heeding a strong response he had received from party supporters. “Together we will continue to kindle the flame that makes us proud of our country and the Labour Party,” Abela said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne also announced that he would contest the Labour leadership race on Friday, with several MPs showing their support for the health minister.

A leadership deal to avoid a bruising contest in the Labour Party was scuppered yesterday 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.

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.

Insiders told MaltaToday that the MP was gunning for the post of deputy prime minister. In a damning Facebook post yesterday 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.