Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil this evening offered the government "complete and unconditional support" to tackle the issue of illegal boathouses.

Speaking during an animated discussion about the environment organised by the Church's environmental commission, Dr Busuttil admitted that part of the blame for the continuous boathouse illegalities was his party.

"I have to say mea culpa on behalf of my party as we should have tackled this issue before and not let it grow. However, this does not mean that we should not do anything about it. It's wrong that the Prime Minister now wants to regularise their electricity supply," Dr Busuttil said.

Dr Busuttil to the Prime Minister, who was sitting next to him and told him: "As the leader of the Nationalist Party I will give you all the necessary support so that the government tackles illegal boathouses once and for all. We will support all actions you deem fit as long as you tackle the illegalities."

Moderator Marie Brigulio, a well-known environmentalist, asked Dr Muscat asking him whether he would take up the offer.

The Prime Minister replied that he wanted to tackle the boathouses issue but other priorities had to be tackled first.

"I believe that I first need to tackle the millionaires who grabbed land illegally and became rich and not people on low income who have done wrong and built an illegal boathouse.”

Alternattiva Demokratika's Carmel Cacopardo intervened to remark to the Prime Minister that his reply was "very convenient".

Mr Cacopardo also criticised the church for continuing to organise mass and religious activities where there were illegal boathouses thus "giving its blessing to the illegalities".

For the debate, the Church's Environment Commission moved 10 proposals to urge people and the government to reflect and act upon.

In one of the proposals, it says politicians and people occupying public positions should not hold activities at places which had no environmental permits.

The commission said if this was not done, it would seem that those attending were giving their blessing to the illegalities and promoting, directly or indirectly, a place or activity that was making a profit from illegalities and unjustly competing with others who behaved according to law.

Dr Muscat said that he was aware that this proposal was referring to Montecristo and said that the government wastrying to tackle the problem.

In another proposal, the Commission said politicians should lead by example in everything they did in their private life which involved development.

If there were loopholes in the law, politicians had the duty to remove them and not use them themselves.

On the other hand, the authorities considering applications for development or environmental permits submitted by politicians should carry out their duties without fear or favour.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna said that it is important that the authorities made sure that the rule of law was respected and that the law is equal to everyone.

The commission's document in full can be read in the pdf link below.