Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi hit it out Speaker Anġlu Farrugia over a stern letter he sent to the son of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

In a strongly worded letter sent on Sunday, Matthew Caruana Galizia called on the Speaker to resign with Farrugia’s lawyer replying on Wednesday that the activist seemed to not understand parliamentary procedure or the laws of Malta.

Caruana Galizia took the Speaker to task over a watered-down reprimand he sent to Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar over an ethics breach for a property deal involving 17 Black owner Yorgen Fenech.

Replying on Thursday, Caruana Galizia insisted that the Speaker has “abysmally and deliberately failed in his duties to protect the House from corruption, by deliberately failing to reprimand Cutajar as demanded by the Committee for Standards in Public Life following a democratic vote.

He also insisted there was nothing in the law that prevented private citizens from writing directly to the Speaker.

Weighing in on the spat, Gonzi, himself a former Speaker, said on Facebook the applications of laws designed to introduce better standards in public life had been rendered hollow.

Gonzi said it was unprecedented for a Speaker, who is the voice of both the government and opposition, to answer a citizen addressing a complaint to him by trying to silence that person through a legal letter.

In the Facebook post, Gonzi referenced a speech he gave recently in parliament commemorating the 100th anniversary of parliament’s establishment.

During the speech, Gonzi said parliament’s main role is to uphold the rule of law.

He also paid tribute to the slain journalist, saying her life’s work served as a warning to those who wanted to listen that the rule of law is being eroded.

Gonzi urged parliament not to turn a blind eye to this erosion of the rule of law.

The former prime minister has kept a relatively low profile ever since resigning the PN leadership following the party’s heavy defeat in 2013.

Gonzi took over as prime minister from Eddie Fenech Adami in 2004.

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