Updated 2.40pm

There is nothing to stop the Public Accounts Committee from continuing to work while parliament is on summer recess, as long as a quorum is formed, House Speaker An─ílu Farrugia has told the committee's chairman. 

Farrugia was replying to a letter by the chairman, Darren Carabott, asking for direction after the Labour members of the committee declared they do intend to attend meetings of the committee while parliament is on summer recess. 

Their decision has effectively halted the committee's questioning of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in connection with the auditor's report into the government's contract to Electrogas to build and operate a power station. Muscat has so far been questioned in three committee sittings. 

Carabott also protested that it was irresponsible that a member of the committee, Andy Ellul, had directly informed Muscat that a meeting had been cancelled as the government members 'do not want to attend' and therefore there was no quorum. 

Farrugia said the issues raised by Carabott should first and foremost be discussed within the committee itself.

He said there was nothing to stop a committee from continuing its work when the House was in recess, particularly when circumstances so merited and there was a quorum.

But the chairman said he was also aware that this required the common sense, goodwill and commitment of the MPs, and it therefore again recommended that the committee seeks agreement among its members. 

Reacting later on Tuesday, Labour whip and PAC member Andy Ellul accused Carabott of playing to the partisan gallery.

"Carabott wants the PAC to meet without government members present. The least he could do is communicate to reach a consensus, rather than try and impose his will to please the establishment," Ellul said. 

The Labour MP also revealed that he [Ellul] had taken the initiative of writing to Muscat to inform him that the PAC would not be meeting during summer. Carabott was copied in on that letter, he said. 

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