Left: PD leader Anthony Buttigieg and MP Marlene Farrugia; Right: parliamentary secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli
The Partit Demokratiku has come under the cosh after it described parliamentary secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli as a “village escort” on its official Facebook page.
The PD’s remark came in the context of the ongoing IVF debate, which heated up this week as Farrugia Portelli was speaking in favour of it in Parliament. After Farrugia’s partner Marlene Farrugia had interrupted Farrugia Portelli, the parliamentary secretary stepped in to remark that not everyone has as much money as Marlene to afford travelling abroad for advanced IVF treatment. This prompted the two PD MPs to insult Farrugia Portelli as a “clown” and a “hamalla” and the Speaker was forced to intervene and kick Godfrey Farrugia out of the parliamentary session.
Then, on its Facebook page, the PD posted a video of Farrugia Portelli’s speech, with the caption “When village escorts become MPs, you know the country is in the pits”.
The PD deleted its posts but several screenshots were taken of it.
“In 2018, called a prostitute by the Opposition PD…for being one of the few women serving in Parliament. For having the ‘pleasures’ (not) of seeing my 5 year old daughter fast asleep when returning late home from work,” Farrugia Portelli said.
Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola also condemned the PD’s language as “sexist and wrong”.
“It’s shameful that we still have to point this out…time to drag our politics out of the gutter,” she said.
The Labour Party demanded an apology from the PD, warning that their comment came as an insult to both women and people who live in villages.
“There is no room for such a sexist and elitist style of politics in a modern society that is more inclusive to women in politics,” the PL said. “The very least we expect from the Farrugias is an apology.”