Pullicino Orlando sticks to his guns...but will not publish the messages from other fellow Nationalist MPs
Nationalist backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando yesterday stood by his claim that another eight government MPs wished to vote for the Richard Cachia Caruana motion.
The backbencher insisted he had mobile phone messages and witnesses to back his case but refrained from producing the proof.
“They were private conversations and I will not divulge the names or what was said but this morning (yesterday) a friend of mine reminded me of an instance when one of these MPs spoke openly about his wish to support the motion in front of me and two friends,” Dr Pullicino Orlando said.
During the parliamentary debate on Monday, Dr Pullicino Orlando said 10 MPs on the government side had expressed a wish to vote with the opposition to oust Mr Cachia Caruana, Malta’s EU envoy.
The MPs included Dr Pullicino Orlando, who voted with the opposition, and Jesmond Mugliett, who abstained.
On Thursday evening, the Nationalist Party rebutted Dr Pullicino Orlando’s claim with a declaration signed by 33 MPs saying they had no intention to vote for the opposition’s motion calling for Mr Cachia Caruana’s resignation. Missing from the list were Dr Pullicino Orlando and Mr Mugliett.
The PN even challenged the rebel MP to substantiate his claim.
“The MPs told me they wished to do it. It did not mean they were going to vote with the Labour Party and my vote was not determined by what they had told me,” Dr Pullicino Orlando said in reaction yesterday.
When asked whether he felt betrayed by the MPs’ decision to sign the PN declaration, Dr Pullicino Orlando said he would not judge them.
The PN executive on Wednesday condemned three of its MPs – Dr Pullicino Orlando, Mr Mugliett and Franco Debono – for the way they voted in Parliament on two Labour motions calling for the resignations of Mr Cachia Caruana and former Home Affairs Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.