Labour MPs are divided over Rosianne Cutajar’s return to the party as a decision by the executive over her future is expected shortly.
While many MPs argue that Cutajar’s return will fire up Labour’s base for the European elections, others say the move could backfire.
On Thursday, the PL parliamentary group discussed Cutajar’s possible return to the party.
Although a majority agreed Cutajar should be brought back to the PL group, some expressed their reservations, sources present at the meeting told Times of Malta.
One MP said that should Robert Abela persist and welcome back Cutajar it would be tantamount to a a “U-turn that makes him look weak”.
“Maybe she shouldn’t have been removed in the first place, but once you make a decision, you should stick to it,” he said.
Cutajar was moved out of cabinet in 2020 after Times of Malta revealed how she had benefitted from a property deal involving Yorgen Fenech, who faces charges of complicity in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Last April she resigned from the Labour parliamentary group after author and blogger Mark Camilleri leaked chats between her and Yorgen Fenech.
She stayed on as an independent MP.
'Cutajar paid a high enough price'
But last month, Abela said Cutajar has paid a high enough political price and it is time for her position to be “reconsidered”.
An MP who spoke on condition of anonymity said no one was being fooled by the argument that Cutajar had already “paid a price”.
With Abela’s reasoning, what is stopping a return of Keith Schembri or Konrad Mizzi, the MP asked.
“What I can’t understand is what the prime minister or the party is gaining from her return. Are we so desperate for votes?”
“Abela opened a Pandora’s box, and I don’t know why,” he said.
Another MP made a similar argument: “We are not in school where you are given a detention, and all is forgiven it,” he said.
The MP said he could not understand why Abela, who had removed a number of people linked to allegations of corruption, was going back on his own policy. He criticised Abela for publicly expressing his desire to bring back Cutajar before discussing it internally.
Qormi MP 'brings a lot of baggage'
“We can’t oppose her return now, can we?” said the MP, saying that a number of those who spoke in her favour at a meeting on Thursday were evidently doing so to echo Abela.
One cabinet member said the Qormi MP brings a lot of baggage with her.
“I saw a picture from the Nadur carnival where a group of revellers were dressed as pigs and with a person in the centre dressed as Rosianne. Why do we need this around us?” he asked.
In the picture the person dressed as the Qormi MP held a placard reading “Kulħadd jitħanżer” (Everybody pigs out). Cutajar had texted that phrase to her friend Yorgen Fenech, as she complained about being left out of cabinet.
“I’ll become a consultant with Pierre of ITS and pocket another wage. I don’t care, everybody pigs out,” she had said.
One MP said the PL needs to present a common front and not leave anyone in the dark.
“We are stronger united,” he said.
But MPs agreed that Cutajar remained popular with the party’s grassroots.
The final decision on Cutajar’s return rests with Labour’s executive, Abela said last Thursday.
That decision will come “in the near future,” he said.