Gatt ‘concocted’ story – Muscat

Joseph Muscat has acknowledged meeting oil traders but insisted that all he told them was that a Labour government was interested in a gas-fired power station.

The Labour leader was reacting to a press conference by Transport Minister Austin Gatt who implied that Dr Muscat had met oil traders.

Addressing party supporters in Xagħra yesterday, Dr Muscat accused Dr Gatt of concocting a story to try and portray the Labour Party and the independent media in cahoots to bring him down.

“These are the arguments of someone who has nothing else to say,” Dr Muscat said, adding Dr Gatt should instead answer the serious questions raised by the oil scandal.

To applause and in a cheeky tone, Dr Muscat said he met oil traders and told them the party was interested in shifting to the cleaner gas. “Our policy has been to get the country off its dependence on the dirtiest oil.”

He called for a positive campaign and urged supporters to continue working to convince people to vote Labour in the election.

Dr Muscat spoke in the presence of the president of European Socialists in the European Parliament, Hannes Swoboda, who had just flown in to Malta.

Mr Swoboda is expected to address today’s Labour mass meeting in Naxxar. At one point as the church bells pealed to mark the 5.30pm Mass, Dr Muscat paused and jokingly remarked that the times when bells disrupted Labour meetings in the 1960s were over.

“We welcome these bells because Malta is for everyone,” he said.

During his visit to Gozo Dr Muscat also met with the Gozo Business Chamber in Marsalforn and toured the Arkadia shopping complex in Victoria.

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