PN’s vote-16 motion will have to wait as budget takes up Parliament’s October schedule
The Nationalist Party complained yesterday that its motion on Vote16 was not included in the 30-day schedule presented by the government to the House Business Committee. The government insisted that practically all sittings in the coming four weeks will be taken up by the endless budget speeches and there are simply no slots left.
The four-week schedule was presented by government whip Godfrey Farrugia during a meeting of the Parliamentary House Business Committee yesterday afternoon.
The government will present next year’s budget on Monday, 17 October. This will be followed by the Opposition leader’s reply, and the Prime Minister’s reply to that reply. Parliament will then start debating the financial estimates of the different ministries (there are 16, including the Office of the Prime Minister). These will last until the second week of November. The budget vote will take place on a yet undecided date, after it is given the EU green light.
PN Deputy Leader Mario de Marco asked if any of the PN’s motions – there are several pending motions – could be included in the schedule presented. But the Government Whip said this was not possible as there were simply no slots available.
His Opposition counterpart, David Agius, said the government had declared itself in favour of the PN’s vote16 motion. Was the government not interested in debating this motion at the earliest, he asked.
Dr Farrugia insisted that there was no way the motion could be debated in the next four weeks.
Mr Agius asked if the government was saying that the PN motion was not important.
“All these motions are equally important but the budget speeches had to be held over the coming weeks,” Economy Minister Chris Cardona said.
Speaker Anglu Farrugia suggested that another meeting of the House Business Committee be held before the current schedule expires, with the possibility that the PN motion is included in the next schedule. Both parties agreed.