Speaker finds Jason Azzopardi breached parliamentary privilege

Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi 'breached parliamentary privilege' when referring to former economy minister Chris Cardona as "corrupt" and a "liar" in a Facebook post

Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi
Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi

Speaker of the House, Anglu Farrugia, ruled that Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi's Facebook post was in breach of parliamentary privilege. 

The ruling was delivered during Tuesday's sitting and was the first order of business. "[Jason Azzopardi's] Facebook post amounts to prima facie breach of privilege. This ruling does not prejudice any further legal action that a member of this House can take. A member of parliament should show respect to the highest institutions of the country," Farrugia said.

The Facebook post was uploaded on 5 January and was video footage showing Azzopardi's speech at a political activity in Tarxien. 

During his speech, Azzopardi referred to former economy minister Chris Cardona as "corrupt" and "a liar." He also made reference to a parliamentary sitting where Cardona and former prime minister Joseph Muscat "attacked" former PN leader Simon Busuttil.

During that sitting, Muscat called Busuttil a "fraudster" and Cardona followed up by saying that if one were to reveal Busuttil's contacts, he would have to leave Malta's jurisdiction and go into hiding.

Cardona asked the Speaker to review the footage on Azzopardi's Facebook.  

"Terms like 'liar' and 'corrupt' should be avoided in parliament... after hearing Azzopardi's words on Chris Cardona while the latter was doing his duty in parliament, this House believes that Azzopardi's post amounts to a prima facie breach of privilege," Farrugia said.