Konrad Mizzi had offered his resignation as Labour Party deputy leader but not as minister, he confirmed this afternoon in his first comments after Thursday’s Cabinet reshuffle.
He did not elaborate on his decision to relinquish the party post, adding that he had various discussions with the Prime Minister on different scenarios.
Asked repeatedly whether he had offered to step down from cabinet, Dr Mizzi reiterated that he had told the Prime Minister that he would "respect whatever decision he took."
Dr Mizzi refused the title of minister without portfolio, insisting he was a minister within the Office of the Prime Minister.
Asked what his new responsibilities will be, Dr Mizzi said the Prime Minister had tasked him to see the power station project through and will be also take charge of public-private partnerships.
Dr Mizzi was embroiled in the Panama affair along with the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri. After two months of procrastinating, Joseph Muscat on Thursday reshuffled his Cabinet and Dr Mizzi lost his energy and health portfolios but was retained in the Cabinet. On the other hand, Mr Schembri escaped any form of censorship over the Panama affair.
Dr Mizzi was full of praise for Mr Schembri when asked whether he was made a scapegoat over the Panama issue at the expense of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff.
He said it was good of the Prime Minister to retain Mr Schembri, who he credited with record economic growth, and insisted he was looking forward to work with him.
Dr Mizzi did not want to speak about his decision to open a company in Panama – which he said will be closed when the audit is complete – adding he had given enough explanations.
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