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Ex-deputy accepts PL trip to the Falklands

Farrugia refuses to say if bridges have been mended

Ousted Labour deputy leader Anġlu Farrugia confirmed yesterday he accepted to represent the party at a Commonwealth conference but refused to say whether bridges had been mended with Joseph Muscat.

I never had any problems with the Labour Party. My problem was with Joseph Muscat

A week after Dr Farrugia’s interview with The Sunday Times, in which he accused the PL leader of “political assassination”, Dr Muscat yesterday evening said: “I want to convey a heartfelt greeting to my friend Anġlu Farrugia, who I know is going through a difficult patch and thank him from the heart for having accepted to represent Labour in a parliamentary delegation abroad. Labour’s door is always open. This movement is a united team... We are all one.”

The surprise announcement came during Labour’s fund­raising marathon broadcast on One TV and was welcomed with loud applause.

Parliamentary sources said the trip, to the Falklands, had been planned in advance. At first, it looked like it could have been cancelled because the Government was not keen on sending anyone seeing that most MPs are either campaigning or involved in the election campaign. However, in the end, dissenting Nationalist backbencher Jesmond Mugliett was nominated.

When contacted shortly after the announcement, Dr Farrugia, who is already abroad, confirmed he had accepted a nomination by the Labour Parliamentary Group to represent the party at the conference.

Asked whether this meant that the problems with the party and with Dr Muscat were a thing of the past, he said: “I never had any problems with the Labour Party. My problem was with Joseph Muscat. I have no further comments to make.”

When pressed further on whether the problems with Dr Muscat were now over, he replied: “I do not wish to comment further. I think it’s enough. Yes, I am abroad representing the Labour Party at a Commonwealth conference.”

I do not wish to comment further. I think it’s enough

Six weeks after being forced to resign, Dr Farrugia told The Sunday Times that he had been backstabbed by Dr Muscat, in what he described as “political assassination”.

In the interview, Dr Farrugia shot down the official explanation for his resignation as being linked to comments he made about Magistrate Audrey Demicoli, whom he accused of political bias.

He said that he had even been informed that Dr Muscat planned not to appoint him Deputy Prime Minister if Labour were elected to government.

He also said he was uncomfortable with Labour’s proximity to big contractors.

Dr Muscat subsequently refused to react to such comments, insisting only that the party’s doors were always open for Dr Farrugia.

On Saturday, he said he respected Dr Farrugia and still believed he had a major role to play in the party and the country. “The door is always open,” he reiterated.

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