Prime Minister Robert Abela on Monday condemned the language used by former Labour MP Joe Debono Grech who used a biblical allegory to describe the Labour Party as the good thief.

“This is why the PL has renewed itself… to eliminate such language,” he said when asked by Times of Malta whether he was the "good thief or the bad thief", as cited by Debono Grech and whether he condemned such speech.

“I am no thief,” he added.

Video: Matthew Mirabelli

Debono Grech, who served as a Labour MP for more than 50 years, was addressing an event organised by Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri, who was in the audience and could be seen applauding Debono Grech’s comments.  

“Christ said that there were two thieves. The good one, and the bad one. We’re with the good one,” he said to applause in Xewkija. The former PL heavyweight, whose late wife was Gozitan, was there to endorse him as a candidate. 

“People say that all [politicians] are corrupt,” Debono Grech said in his speech. “And they’re right. But we got nothing out of their corruption. At least we gained something out of ours,” he said.

Debono Grech had quit parliament in 2017 following five decades in parliament. A combative MP who embraced Dom Mintoff’s rallying call of “soldiers of steel”, he had threatened to assault Marlene Farrugia in parliament after she crossed the floor in 2015.

Debono Grech spent his Xewkija speech attacking the Nationalist Party, saying it was full of “spineless people” who had failed to keep any of their promises to citizens.

Camilleri did not reply to Times of Malta’s questions on the matter.

Abela won't name Labour campaign manager

Abela was also asked whether those who are leading Labour’s electoral campaign and who are government employees are being paid by the state or the party.

He would not mention his party’s campaign manager.

“I cannot name one person as there are many people working on our campaign,” he replied.

“Work in government entities is continuing as it was before,” he added. 

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