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Speaker insists on disallowing questions by Simon Busuttil on PM's chief of staff

Busuttil: Decision is dangerous; Farrugia: Bound to observe standing orders

Speaker Anglu Farrugia.

Speaker Anglu Farrugia.

Updated Thursday 10am with Speaker's clarification

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anġlu Farrugia, has stuck to his decision to disallow two parliamentary questions by Simon Busuttil on whether Keith Schembri, the prime minister's chief of staff, has overseas bank accounts.

In a ruling on Wednesday, Dr Farrugia said that questions to ministers had to relate to their responsibilities and they must be based on established facts, not media reports. 

Last weekm Dr Busuttil attempted to ask the prime minister whether his chief of staff had bank accounts in Dubai or in Pilatus Bank, but the Speaker disallowed the questions.

Dr Busuttil then asked the Chair for a ruling, saying the ruling should be given by the Deputy Speaker since it affected the Speaker.

But Dr Farrugia said he would give the ruling since he was the Chair, and Dr Busuttil could contest it if he disagreed.

Dr Busuttil on Wednesday said he would contest it.

Dr Farrugia said on Thursday that the questions could not be accepted because they were deemed to be requesting personal information and therefore not related to public affairs or to any business of the House for which the minister is responsible. The Chair is duty bound to observe the standing orders and was therefore obliged to withhold the PQs in accordance with Standing Order 26(1), he said.

 

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