Meeting Mr. Speaker

(Originally posted on Facebook, 19th May 2023)

Emmanuel Attard Bezzina (1921-1988)

Emmanuel Attard Bezzina was a pharmacist, who had been a Labour MP since 1947. In June 1971 he was elected to be the first Labour Speaker of the House of Representatives since independence. His charming wife had been a Labour MP as well, so they were also a couple in Parliament.

Our first meeting took place on 20th June 1973 at his office in the Palace of Valletta, in the presence of the House Mr. Mifsud. His cousin Edgar Causon generously allowed me to mention his name when I tried to make the appointment.


At twelve he was refused confession because his father was a strong Labour supporter.

In 1961 he was in the executive Committee (of the MLP) that was interdicted.

His children at a convent school could not stick it. Since the war he was not practising. ‘For most Nationalist members religion is also a façade. We go to church when we have to.’

Archbishop Gonzi almost stopped his wedding as he was a Member of Parliament and invited Mintoff as his witness and not Boffa. AB told him not to stop it or else he would marry before a registrar office in Italy.

‘During the fight MLP-Church there always were indirect contacts between Mintoff and the Archbishop. During the 1962 elections the PN did not think they were going to win, but the Church fought their battle. In 1966 they lost more votes. Even in 1971 the priests tried to raise hell again. In my district they started a whispering campaign against me. I lost my seat by 100 votes. Women still let themselves be influenced by the priests.

My parents-in-law did not vote Labour in 1962 because of the interdict.

There are over 1000 churches in Malta and Gozo. It’s a waste of time and effort.

Mintoff’s six points will come again, after we changed our economic situation.

We would like to have the British electoral system. It would give us a stronger government.’