The Labour Party's women's section on Wednesday condemned what it said were attacks made against party MP Rosianne Cutajar through the publication of "private chats going back several years."
The chats were published by author Mark Camilleri on Tuesday, a day before a court was due to continue to hear libel proceedings filed against him by the MP. He had claimed in a book that she had had an affair with Yorgen Fenech to advance her political career.
The transcripts of 2,200 WhatsApp chats revealed an intimate relationship between the pair at a time when Cutajar was publicly dismissing calls to investigate suspected corruption linked to Fenech. They also include references to a gift he had given her at the time.
A first Labour reaction
The statement by the PL's women section is the first from within the party since the chat transcripts were released.
It made no mention of Fenech, who is awaiting trial for his alleged role in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
The PL women said the way the WhatsApp chats had been published, just before the court hearing was due to resume, was malicious and misogynous, as well as in breach of a court order.
Cutajar's lawyers have asked for Camilleri to be investigated. On Wednesday, a judge ordered the police to investigate if a confidentiality order issued by a court had been breached.
MP calls on Cutajar to resign
Meanwhile, Nationalist MP Eve Borg Bonello on Wednesday called on Rosianne Cutajar to resign.
"Her position in parliament is untenable. A resignation is the bare minimum after so many breaches of conduct and ethics, gifts and thousands of euro stemming from her alleged relationship with a crime and mafia boss who allegedly ordered the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia," Borg Bonello wrote on Facebook.
"She failed to declare the above along with the major conflict of interest leading her to repeatedly defend Fenech in Malta's parliament and fight against a public inquiry in the Council of Europe."
She urged Prime Minister Robert Abela to expel Cutajar from the Labour parliamentary group if he truly believed in decency.
"If not, he’s allowing the central mantra of his government to continue to be ‘kullħadd jitħanżer' with the usual impunity. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable in a modern European democracy"
It was Cutajar who used the term 'kullħadd jitħanżer' in one of the chats, saying she did not care about taking up a consultancy at the Institute of Tourism Studies as a second job because everyone was putting his snout in the trough.