Debono will continue to be member of PN group - whip
Franco Debono was and will continue to be a member of the Nationalist parliamentary group, group whip David Agius said this morning.
Speaking on TVAM, he said that contacts had been held between the PN and Dr Debono over the weekend - he had personally spoken to him about this evening's vote of confidence.
Dr Debono said he had spoken to him about the significance of this evening's vote and they had also discussed the anger expressed by some members of the group in the wake of last Wednesday's vote, when Dr Debono backed an opposition no-confidence vote in Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici, forcing his resignation.
Mr Agius said he could not reveal what Dr Debono told him, although he understood the anger of some members of the group.
Dr Debono has said he will not vote against the government tonight, but the Prime Minister has insisted that he wants a clear, unconditional vote in order for the government to continue to serve.
“I want a clear vote to know the government has the majority to permit it to move ahead with stability,” Dr Gonzi told The Sunday Times in an interview. ( http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20120603/interview/Gonzi-calling-an-election-would-be-the-easy-way-out.422434 )
The backbencher told the newspaper that he is likely to support the government and keep supporting it throughout the legislature, but only as long as certain reforms are implemented.
Political observers said yesterday the Prime Minister was keeping his options open and could call an early election if Dr Debono abstains, even though the government could carry on from a constitutional point of view.
Environment and Tourism Minister Mario de Marco said Dr Debono had a lot to answer for and must assume responsibility for his actions, as voting on such a motion was an insult to those who suffered at the hands of the police when Labour was in government.
Dr de Marco also had a message for those who are dealing with Dr Debono: “We must keep in line with the politics of persuasion and not the politics of appeasement.”
MP Charlò Bonnici, however, was one of those in favour of severing relations. He said: “Franco Debono crossed a red line he should never have crossed. We cannot be held hostage by one person. We cannot keep negotiating with him.”
His words echo those of his colleague Beppe Fenech Adami who has already publicly declared Dr Debono to have “burnt all bridges” with the party.