The BBC has mistakenly referred to former PN leader Simon Busuttil as the current Opposition leader, as rumours of an impending leadership coup within the Nationalist Party continue to grow.
The blunder, made during Busuttil’s interview on Monday with BBC Newsnight in the wake of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was picked up by justice minister Owen Bonnici.
“It struck me how the MP Simon Busuttil was referred to in this interview. Do you think it was an oversight” he said.
Busuttil has hardly appeared in the public eye at all since Adrian Delia was elected PN leader last month, refusing to even attend the new leader’s victory speech. However, that all changed following the gruesome assassination of Caruana Galizia last week.
Apart from being interviewed by major foreign media like BBC and CNN, Busuttil also delivered a long and powerful speech in Parliament, took part in yesterday’s national protest and participated in a sit-in in front of the police headquarters which demanded the instant resignation of the police commissioner.
Simon Busuttil had attended a sit-in protest at the police headquarters last night
Although Delia has abandoned his conciliatory tone in favour of a more warlike one, he has faced increasing hostility from within the PN and indeed backed out of yesterday’s protest, reportedly after realizing several PN MPs were refusing to march with him. Anonymous PN MPs have also told MaltaToday that the air of rebellion is ripe within the party and a plan is being hatched to oust Delia from the leadership.
Although Delia has tried to claim political mileage from Caruana Galizia’s assassination, his strategy is being hampered by the fact that he had harshly criticised and discredited the journalist during his leadership campaign, deriding her as a “mere blogger who was scared of losing her grip on the PN”. This was after Caruana Galizia had reported how Delia had laundered money from a Soho prostitution ring a decade ago, and after she had raised warning flags about the new leader’s personal financial situation and his leadership style – which she decried as “fascist”.
In one of her final posts, Caruana Galizia urged PN MPs to defenestrate Delia immediately after the 2019 European Parliament and local council elections, which she predicted will see the PN wiped out at the polls.
“This is exactly why I and a big chunk of those who voted Nationalist in the last general election now say that we won’t be voting at all: because we don’t want Delia to become prime minister and we no longer trust the political party which was crazy and disorganised enough to allow him and Frank Portelli to be contenders in its leadership election, and a party which was so lacking in political insight and so unable to read the runes that its people actually chose Delia,” Caruana Galizia wrote.
“People with such poor judgement can’t be trusted to take their aged mother or grandmother out for a walk in the park.