Robert Abela's claim that "no one is bigger than the country" made in the context of the Rosianne Cutajar scandal, was too little, too late, the Nationalist Party said on Tuesday.
The prime minister told Times of Malta on Monday that MPs must "assume responsibility" for their actions. He skirted questions on whether he would be asking Cutajar to step aside but added: "no one is bigger than the party and no one is bigger than the country.”
Cutajar has faced pressure to resign as an MP since author Mark Camilleri published chat transcripts between herself and Yorgen Fenech, at a time when the businessman faced mounting scrutiny for being revealed as the owner of the secret company 17 Black.
The PN observed that after having defended Cutajar, Robert Abela was now playing with words about no one being bigger than the country.
This was too little, too late, and confirmed that Abela was weak before Cutajar, a backbench MP.
If he truly believed that no one was bigger than the country, Abela needs to immediately dismiss Cutajar from the Labour parliamentary group. Failure to do so would be confirmation that Abela was being blackmailed and controlled by the clique which for the past 10 years had its "snout in the trough", the PN said.
This, the PN added, was the same clique that had created the culture of impunity that led to the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and was now trying to put Mark Camilleri in prison for having revealed the truth about the strong links that existed between Cutajar and Fenech.
Repubblika calls for an investigation
The NGO Republikka said that in a democracy where those in power were supposed to be held to account, the only action seen so far was the way how the Attorney General and the Police had acted against the man who dug up the dirt.
The prime minister needed to declare that he did not condone Cutajar's behaviour, dissociate himself and his party from her behaviour and order an investigation into the chats.