Franco Debono (right) accused the Prime Minister of having low standards of MPs.
Nationalist MP Franco Debono sent a stark reminder to Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi of his wavering support as the Nationalist government prepares to open the political season with its last Budget before the coming general elections
In an interview on Labour television One's Resumé, Debono delivered his usually scathing dissection of the Nationalist administration, accusing the Gonzi administration of being intolerant of dissent and careless about ministerial accountability.
His rant was given short shrift by the ministers that are frequently the target of his criticism: Austin Gatt, Dolores Cristina, and Tonio Fenech ignored questions by One News reporters over Debono's sniping from his personal blog.
"There is a clique of people - Richard Cachia Caruana, Edgar Galea-Curmi, and Austin Gatt - who want to keep calling the shots. This system of ignoring MPs and ministers was devised by Cacia Caruana, who has enjoyed considerable influence on prime ministers. The way our political system has developed is by having a government that undermines the parliament, without the parliament scrutinizing the government."
But on the most part, Debono insisted he had been the victim of the prime minister's inner circle and that while he was called on to resign the party and now banned from contesting the next elections on the PN ticket, no minister had been forced to resign over ministerial shortcomings.
"Unless you are some altar boy or a 'yes man' with these people, they will destroy you, as they tried to do in that Bondiplus interview," Debono said referring to his encounter with TVM presenter Lou Bondì in which the MP outshone the TV journalist's barbed incursion. "The 'prize'," Debono sarcastically noted, " was to stop attacking me."
Debono kept up the attack on Lawrence Gonzi, who still does not have the guarantee of his support in the next Budget - which needs both Debono's vote as well that of independent MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando - saying the prime minister had low standards of MPs.
In his first missive, he hit out at Gonzi's cousin Stephen Spiteri: "Spiteri was given Gonzi's second seat and that's how he was elected to parliament. He didn't know then where parliament even was, and he still doesn't know where the House is today, if you had to see his record of absenteeism. If that's the standard of an MP for Gonzi, I don't know how he can be strong with his own ministers."
Debono reiterated common stands he has been vocal about: keeping Austin Gatt accountable for the public transport reform, and now planning to file a motion of no-confidence in health minister Joe Cassar over various shortcomings in the health sector.
"These ministers are refusing to be accountable to their voters... the government takes all. Consider the way Austin Gatt had told journalists the evening we met for a PN executive meeting that 'we were having a piss' - what kind of minister passes some comment like that?"
The MP also claimed there were several divergences inside the PN backbench, but said that each MP had their own personal reason not to raise trouble.
"You only have to see the way they treated John Dalli when he was made to resign - and do take note, this came after he contested Gonzi in the leadership campaign - everyone who disagrees with Gonzi is passed through some martyrdom."