Labour firebrand Emanuel Cuschieri has threatened to out businessmen who he claims are trying to stop Joseph Muscat from running as an MEP candidate.

Cuschieri, a former Labour radio host who is close to the former prime minister, claimed that some entrepreneurs were pressuring Labour to keep Muscat off the June ballot for the European Parliament elections.

“A number of businessmen whose names I know are trying to meddle in Labour’s internal affairs and convince someone to take a step back and not run in June’s EP elections,” he said, without naming Muscat by name.

Extracts of Emanuel Cuschieri's video. Video: Karl Andrew Micallef

“They’re not looking after Labour’s interests, they have their own commercial interests at heart. They are hoping to win more tenders and want to curry favour. But if I get any further indications that they are still meddling in Labour affairs, I will name names and speak in more detail,” Cuschieri said in a 20-minute video he posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday evening.

Cuschieri was the first person to reveal that Muscat, who resigned as prime minister in January 2020 following nationwide anti-corruption protests, was mulling a return to frontline politics.

Muscat has confirmed that he is considering a bid but stopped short of confirming that he will run in the June elections. Prime Minister Robert Abela has said that he would not stop his predecessor from running, should he wish to.

In his Tuesday evening video, Cuschieri also alleged that Labour Party leadership was stalling on returning exiled MP Rosianne Cutajar back within the party fold.

“Cutajar has been promised a return and told it’s just a matter of procedure. But since then, absolutely nothing has happened. What’s stopping it from happening” he asked.

Cutajar, a Qormi MP and former junior minister, was forced out as a Labour MP last year after author Mark Camilleri leaked chats between herself and Tumas business empire heir Yorgen Fenech. Fenech is facing criminal charges for having allegedly commissioned the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Earlier this year, the prime minister said he believed Cutajar had been punished enough and should be returned to Labour. He made that overture just weeks after the National Audit Office concluded that Cutajar had effectively taken up a phantom consultancy with a state entity in 2019, getting paid for work she never did.

Cuschieri's claim about cancelled Labour meeting

Labour MPs met earlier this month to discuss bringing Cutajar back within the party’s parliamentary group. But Cuschieri said things were moving too slowly.

“Hasn’t she been martyred enough? Her heart beats for socialist principles,” he said of Cutajar. He also alleged that Labour administration had cancelled a meeting of the party’s executive and parliamentary group, scheduled for Monday evening.

“It’s a big mystery. Why didn’t the meeting happen?” he asked.

Cuschieri mused that the meeting was cancelled because of the strong turnout of Labour supporters for a rally organized by Labour MEP candidate Alex Agius Saliba, and which was addressed by former prime ministers Joseph Muscat and Alfred Sant.

He did not explain why he thought the two might be linked, saying he would say so “at a later date”.

Labour: No such meeting was ever scheduled

But the Labour jockey’s claims about a cancelled meeting were extinguished by a party spokesperson, who said no such meeting was ever scheduled.

“There was a meeting of the party executive scheduled, and that meeting took place as scheduled,” the spokesperson said. That meeting focused on approving various Labour candidates who will run in local council elections, the spokesperson added.

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