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Best reply to Daphne Project 'will be on May 1,' says Muscat

PM makes rallying call for May Day celebrations

Muscat wants a show of force on May 1.

Muscat wants a show of force on May 1.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Sunday morning urged Labour supporters to attend May Day celebrations, in response to Daphne Project revelations which came to light over the past week.

Dr Muscat made this rallying call in a short interview over the phone on One Radio.

“The best reply we can give is on May 1, when the people will unite as one in Valletta to convey our message,” he said.

The Prime Minister made this appeal in the wake of revelations that in 2015, a total of $1.6 million was transferred to a Dubai-based firm called 17 Black. The latter was to make payments to the once-secret companies belonging to Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri, according to a leaked email. The two men deny any wrongdoing.

The revelations come as part of the Daphne Project, a collaboration between 18 different news organisations around the world which is being coordinated by French NGO Forbidden Stories. 

The collaboration, which includes organisations such as The Guardian, New York Times and La Repubblica, seeks to continue the work of Daphne Caruana Galizia. 

Reacting on Sunday morning, the Prime Minister lashed out against certain elements within the Nationalist Party, saying they acting like judge, jury and executioner.

“Certain members within the Opposition are asking for an investigation but their call is pointless once they have already reach a verdict,” he said.

Dr Muscat reiterated that he would be taking action once the findings of the ongoing magisterial inquiries are in hand. He said there should also be
repercussions for those who could be lying to tarnish the country’s reputation.

People can also reach their own conclusions as to who is saying the truth or not, he added.

Embryo legislation controversy

On the IVF Bill controversy, Dr Muscat insisted that the Labour Party had a mandate to “improve” existing legislation.

His comments were made in reaction to harsh criticism that the PL had made no mention of surrogacy and embryo freezing in its electoral manifesto.

While no sitting Labour MP has voiced concern, at least in public, former Minister George Vella as well as former junior minister Deborah Schembri urged the government to go back to the drawing board.

Dr Muscat described Dr Vella and Dr Schembri’s arguments as “genuine” while making the point that there was no split on the matter within Labour ranks.

According to Dr Muscat, embryo freezing had already been introduced in 2012 under the existing legislation, albeit in “exceptional circumstances”.

“I do not think that principle should only apply in exception circumstances,” he said.

The Prime Minister noted that government wanted to address fertility problems, which he said were being faced by one in every six families.

Dr Muscat also made reference to the forthcoming Labour General Conference which starts tomorrow. He said this was being held at a time when the employment rate had exceed that of the Eurozone, and when poverty was in decline.

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