[WATCH] No place for Konrad Mizzi in an Abela administration, Labour MP says

Like Fearne, Abela will not retain Lawrence Cutajar as police commissioner, nor will he appoint Konrad Mizzi to the Cabinet

Robert Abela (right) with TVM head of news Reno Bugeja
Robert Abela (right) with TVM head of news Reno Bugeja

The Labour MP Robert Abela will not retain Lawrence Cutajar as police commissioner, nor would he have Konrad Mizzi as minister in a future Cabinet under his premiership.

Abela has refused to confirm that he had turned down a Cabinet position so as not to run for the Labour leadership and have Chris Fearne installed as PM in the fastest way possible.

Abela refused to enter into the detail of the alleged ‘diabolical pact’ he denounced on Facebook, a reference to an alleged leadership deal to have Chris Fearne installed as prime minister without an internal party election.

“I think it was the fourth occasion in which I had to take a strong stand… my interests are secondary, here. These are the moments that define you,” he said on TVM’s Dissett.

Abela refuted suggestions that his statement had been “immature”. “I was presented with a pact, which I refused,” Abela said, again refusing to reveal details of the deal.

Abela, son of erstwhile Labour deputy leader and President emeritus George Abela, served as a consultant to Joseph Muscat in his Cabinet.

TVM head of news Reno Bugeja faced Abela with the fact that he was allowed to retain lucrative government consultancies, among them a decade-long retainer for legal services with the Planning Authority to handle its caseload. “We have an excellent track record,” Abela said of his firm’s legal work for the PA. “I do with dedication, but I don’t do it for free, either.”

Abela said the PM’s job was certainly “no prize trophy” in the current situation that had prevailed in Malta.

In an obvious swipe at Chris Fearne’s campaigning on the glossy magazines, Abela said he engaged in no form of campaigning right up until Joseph Muscat announced his resignation. “I was always loyal to Muscat.”

Abela pledged “stability and serenity” under his leadership, but would not commit to any three major pledges for his first 100 days if elected Labour leader.

The MP said the Daphne Caruana Galizia probe had left him “dissatisfied”; he disagreed with Fearne’s proposal for the Commissioner of Police to be appointed by two-thirds of the House, and instead preferred a public call for applications and for nominations to be scrutinised by the parliamentary public appointments committee.

“I think the message on the investigation was completely lacking, no communication or crime conferences were given, which were necessary.”

If elected PM, Abela said he would remove police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar.