Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia made his first major national policy move in Parliament last night, spearheading a motion against a legal notice which grants vacation leave to lesbian couples and infertile women seeking IVF abroad.
Yet it ended in disaster, with eight Opposition MPs either voting against it or abstaining in dissent against the PN leader’s stance.
Now Lovin Malta can confirm that a ninth Opposition MP, namely Claudette Buttigieg, would also have joined the dissenters had she been present in Parliament last night.
“At the time of the debate, I was travelling from Brussels to Malta after attending the FEMM conference of Violence Against Women,” Buttigieg – a vocal advocate for LGBT rights- told this website. “Had I been present, I would have joined the group of MPs who abstained.”
Opposition MP Claudette Buttigieg said she would have also abstained from the vote
The six PN MPs who abstained from the vote were former leader Simon Busuttil, former deputy leader Mario de Marco, former leadership contender Chris Said, and MPs Karol Aquilina, Therese Comodini Cachia and Karl Gouder. Partit Demokratiku MP Godfrey Farrugia voted against the motion and confirmed his partner and fellow PD MP Marlene Farrugia would have done the same had she been present.
All Labour MPs present at the debate voted against the motion.
Eight Opposition @PNmalta MPs defy party whip and abstain from voting on @adriandeliapn sponsored motion. This is the very first act of the new Opposition leader in Parliament. The internal rift is now signed and sealed with a vote. Govt united stand saves progressive IVF law.
— Kurt Farrugia (@KurtFarrugia) November 22, 2017
This means nine out of the 30 Opposition MPs, a whopping third of the Opposition parliamentary group, came out against Delia’s motion – an unprecedented revolt against a party leader in recent parliamentary history.
“Eight Opposition MPs defied the party whip and abstained from voting on Adrian Delia’s sponsored motion,” the government’s communications chief Kurt Farrugia tweeted. “This is the very first act of the new Opposition leader in Parliament. The internal rift is now signed and sealed with a vote. The government’s united stand saved a progressive IVF law.”
During the debate, Delia insisted tat the motion was not proof of the PN’s conservative stance towards LGBT rights and IVF treatment but was simply flagging its legal inconsistencies with the Embryo Protection Act. He repeatedly challenged the government to table its long-planned amendments to this Act and come clean on which new reproductive technologies it is planning to introduce, but refused to give his own position on the Act. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat noted the Labour Party had already unequivocally come out in favour of gamete donation and said he has an electoral mandate to update IVF legislation this way.