[WATCH] Whips spar over political responsibility ahead of parliament’s reopening

On TVM’s Xtra, party Whips Glenn Bedingfield and Robert Cutajar lock horns

Glenn Bedingfield and Robert Cutajar
Glenn Bedingfield and Robert Cutajar

Glenn Bedingfield and Robert Cutajar have each accused the other side of failing to shoulder political responsibility as the two Whips locked horns on TVM’s Xtra.

Bedingfield pointed his finger at Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, saying that he failed to shoulder responsibility despite having been reprimanded by the Auditor General on deals he was responsible for when a government minister.

The Labour Whip argued that government MPs like Konrad Mizzi had shouldered responsibility for their actions.

“We shoulder political responsibility, and we do it responsibly, but no one from the side of the Opposition, neither when they were in government and nor in the Opposition, have ever shouldered political responsibility,” he said.

Mizzi was kicked out of the parliamentary group 

Cutajar failed to respond on Azzopardi but insisted Mizzi’s eventual shouldering of political responsibility was a case of “too little, too late” after Malta’s international reputation was sullied.

But Bedingfield was unrelenting, insisting the Nationalist Party leader failed to take action against Azzopardi. “If there had been no internal divisions, then it should have been the leader of the Nationalist Party who should have seen that Jason Azzopardi shoulders political responsibility… And if there will be a new leader on Monday, will he see to it that this takes place?”

Cutajar rebutted that the PN’s internal problems had no impact on the Opposition’s parliamentary work.

“We have always been watchdogs of the government, and I think the results speak for themselves, because both in parliament and in the committees within parliament the opposition was always present, focused and effective,” he insisted.

Cutajar also argued that the reforms and constitutional changes that are currently being implemented owe their birth to the efforts of the Opposition.

He insisted that on many points, such as replacing the Attorney General, or the resignation of Konrad Mizzi, it was the Opposition that had been the catalyst and driving force, and not the government. 

Bedingfield ridiculed this sentiment, declaring that “the changes we are making and the reforms which we are continuing to implement are not thanks to the opposition, because if the opposition truly believed in this change, they had 25 entire years in government to bring it about”.

Parliament reconvenes on Monday after the summer recess.