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PBS stops Xarabank debate as Debono turns up

The weekly PBS chat show, Xarabank, was not aired last night after Nationalist MP rebel Franco Debono turned up for what was billed as a debate between the deputy leaders of the two political parties.

The show should have featured Nationalist Party deputy leader Simon Busuttil and his Labour counterpart Anġlu Farrugia.

Labour said in a statement it acceded to Dr Debono’s request “to represent himself and be given the opportunity, which had long been denied to him, to explain why he voted against the Budget four days ago”.

It said that, over the past week, Dr Busuttil had twice refused invitations to take part in debates with Dr Farrugia on PBS programmes (a claim PBS denied). Both also participated in a two-hour long debate on Church radio RTK on Thursday, it said.

PBS said that Dr Debono arrived at production house Where’s Everybody’s studios, in Qormi, accompanied by Labour’s information director Kurt Farrugia adding that the programme had to be cancelled because of the tension that ensued.

As Dr Debono waited, insisting he should appear in the programme, he asked why Dr Busuttil was afraid to face him, adding that Dr Farrugia did not turn up.

Dr Busuttil, who was present in the studios, said he went to the studios to debate with Dr Farrugia.

As he walked out, he said he was leaving because he was told the programme was cancelled.

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