The Office of the Prime Minister is taking over the ministerial responsibility previously assigned to Chris Fearne, the government said on Monday.

Fearne resigned on Friday amid the hospitals' inquiry fallout.

The EU funds, reforms and social dialogue portfolio will fall under the responsibility of the Office of the Prime Minister, the statement read.

That means Fearne will not be replaced in cabinet. 

Parliamentary secretaries Andy Ellul (social dialogue) and Rebecca Buttigieg (Equality and reforms) will retain their responsibilities but will fall under the aegis of the prime minister.

There was no word over whether Fearne will remain leader of the House - the government official responsible for setting parliament's agenda. 

The prime minister has also held off from designating a deputy prime minister. There is no actual constitutional requirement for the appointment of a deputy prime minister.

The constitution says that: "Whenever the Prime Minister is absent from Malta or on vacation, or is unable by reason of illness to perform the functions of his office, the President may authorise any other member of the Cabinet to perform those functions  and that member may perform those functions until his authority is revoked by the President."

However, sources within the Labour Party said the election for deputy leader is being delayed until after the European elections on June 8. 

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