Independent MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has tabled a motion in parliament requesting all the rights of a member of the House Business Committee which sets the parliamentary agenda. Chaired by the Speaker, this committee so far had on it the representatives of government and the opposition.
Pullicino Orlando has so far attended the meetings of this committee as a non-voting member.
Pullicino Orlando said that he wanted to be a full member of this committee after government is pressing ahead and bypassing parliament in its St Philip’s Hospital lease agreement with Dr Frank Portelli.
Monday morning MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando called on Health Minister Joe Cassar to resign after last Saturday evening he first said that the acquisition of St Philip’s Hospital would be discussed in cabinet before going ahead and then four hours later said that it will go ahead without having to go through cabinet again. Pullicino Orlando who was interviewed on One TV Breakfast show on Monday morning said that this way of doing things makes one ask whether this decision to acquire St Philip’s Hospital showed that not only parliament but also cabinet was bypassed.
Pullicino Orlando also said that he would be taking further steps on the St Philip’s issue but did not specify which.
Last July Pullicino Orlando resigned from the PN and its parliamentary group but opted to support Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi in government as long as it was implementing its 2008 electoral programme. This programme does not mandate the Gonzi government to acquire St Philip’s Hospital
Last week PN MP Franco Debono tabled a parliamentary motion calling on government to submit the €12 million lease agreement of St Philip’s Hospital to parliamentary scrutiny before signing it. Pullicino Orlando and the Labour Opposition said they would support this motion.