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Labour MP’s Blunder: Manuel Mallia Exposes Lobbying Strategy Against Damning Report On WhatsApp Group

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The MP appears to have posted in the wrong WhatsApp group

Labour MP Manuel Mallia has committed something of a digital faux pas, telling a WhatsApp group of Maltese MPs that Malta should use an upcoming summit to lobby against a damning Council of Europe report.

The WhatsApp group, called ‘Council of Europe’, was set up by a parliamentary clerk assistant this week to serve as a communication point for the five Maltese MPs on the CoE delegation – Labour MPs Manuel Mallia, Rosianne Cutajar, Etienne Grech and Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and Nationalist MPs Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Jason Azzopardi.

This morning, Mallia told the group: “Mini summit tomorrow between six countries is fertile ground for lobbying against Omtzigt’s report. Anyone taking the lead? Good morning everyone.”

Mallia must have realised his mistake, as he deleted his comments after five minutes. Lovin Malta has requested the MP to clarify his statement but he has not responded as of the time of writing.

The former minister was clearly referring to a summit of southern EU countries that will be held in Malta tomorrow, where the leaders of Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus will convene to discuss regional issues. 

The Omtzigt report was a reference to Dutch MP Pieter Omtzigt, who recently compiled a report for the Council of Europe on the state of Malta’s rule of law and the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The damning report said Malta’s rule of law is seriously undermined by the lack of checks and balances on the Office of the Prime Minister and warned that people implicated in the Panama Papers are benefitting from a culture of “total impunity”. It also questioned why no one has been arrested for masterminding Caruana Galizias murder, despite reports stating police have identified suspects.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has blasted the report as “totally biased” and has cast doubt on Omtzigt’s credibility by recounting how he had once said that an aircraft shot down by a Russian missile over Ukraine was actually shot down by Ukrainians.

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