The PN Administrative Council decided this evening that the party leadership election will continue as scheduled but it said candidate Adrian Delia should consider his position in the light of findings by the party's Ethics Committee.

But Dr Delia in a swift reaction said he would stay in the fight because the Ethics Committee had found nothing against him and the council was 'twisting' the committee's findings to tarnish him.

In another reaction, outgoing party leader Simon Busuttil said that were he in Dr Delia's position, he would drop out of the race after the ethics committee report. 

COUNCIL STATEMENT: MORE EXPLANATIONS NEEDED BY DR DELIA

The council said it agreed with and had adopted the findings of the PN Ethics Committee which investigated allegations about Dr Delia. It said that while it was mindful of Dr Delia's professional secrecy, there were aspects which were not clear and clearly needed to be explained, including an alleged Barclays offshore account in his name in Jersey and the source of those funds. 

The committee said it had also resulted that on July 1, 2003 the UK police raided a property owned by Healey Properties that was rented to third parties. Dr Delia was a director of this company along with (now minister) Dr Chris Cardona. The raid revealed that the property was being used by the third parties for prostitution. Dr Delia and Dr Cardona resigned from the company in December of that year.

The council said it had found no wrongdoing in its discussion involving candidates Chris Said, Frank Portelli and Alex Perici Calascione.

The council said it is publishing the Ethics Committee report (see below).

ADRIAN DELIA REACTS, HITS OUT AT THE 'ESTABLISHMENT'

In a reaction, Dr Delia said the Ethics Committee had found absolutely nothing against him and the Administrative Council's call for him to consider his position meant it was twisting the committee's findings in an attempt by the establishment to tarnish his name and prejudice the voters.

"They asked me to consider my position, My consideration has been made and on Saturday I call on the councillors to vote for the party to free itself, to be truly representative of democracy and correct behaviour and to rid itself of the establishment," Dr Delia said.

Dr Delia said no one had come up with any evidence about the so called Jersey account and no one had found and wrongdoing in his actions as a lawyer with clients abroad. No personal funds were ever involved.

'I was always diligent and ethical and I never broke any law," Dr Delia said. 

He said that after the council meeting he had met Simon Busuttil and he asked him to point out what he had done wrong. Dr Busuttil was unable to reply.

Dr Delia said he was happy with the recommendations of the Ethics Committee which had said that before such elections, there should be clear criteria on the requirements expected of the candidates, something which the current leadership had not done.

The committee, he said, had found nothing wrong about him and had therefore taken no actions against him, when it could have suspended him or even dismissed him from the party.

BUSUTTIL REACTS: WERE I IN DR DELIA'S POSITION, I WOULD DROP OUT

Questioned by reporters after the council meeting, Dr Busuttil that were he in Dr Delia's position, he would withdraw from this election. However, ultimately, the voters would have the final word. 

The council meeting started at about 8.30pm, an hour later than planned.  Dr Delia turned up unexpectedly at about 10.40pm, saying he had turned up at his own free will to see what was happening.  

Read the Ethics Committee report and the PN statement in full by clicking on pdfs below.