Updated at 20:34 carrying a reply from one of Robert Arrigo’s assistants explaining what really happened.

Robert Arrigo followed Adrian Delia in pledging loyalty to Bernard Grech. He’s staying on as deputy leader to live out his term. He posted on Facebook yesterday his decision to stick it out.

Look at the first comment beneath his post. “Prosit Rob” it says. But it’s sent in by Robert Arrigo himself, the “author” of the original post. Since it addresses himself in the second person, Robert Arrigo must have thought he was using a fake profile.

The first instinct is to laugh at the boomer. But this is more sinister than that. People with fake profiles on Facebook are trolls. They lie about their identity to misdirect debate. They seek to influence other people’s thinking by deceiving them about what “other people” think and where the bandwagon is going. If Robert Arrigo has done this once, he must have done it many times before.

He knows full well how damaging this is. He’s often heard to complain about it. Here is a video clip of him complaining about it, declaring in the process, that “jiena m’għandix Facebook”.

In the atmosphere of reconciliation and “party unity” I will be told I should not be picking on Robert Arrigo. I’m sorry, this is not about picking on anyone. This is about Robert Arrigo thinking that “Malta needs him”. The first thing Malta expects of him and people in his profession is for them to be truthful.

A fake Facebook profile is a lie that someone perpetrates for as long as they get away with or until they slip up. It is the behaviour of jilted lovers and village harridans. A senior politician who behaves this way is flat out unfit for purpose.

If anything lost the PN leadership election last weekend, one would have hoped that would have been just this sort of thing. Enough already.

Update at 20:34. The following was sent in by Mr Mauro Miceli:

Dear Mr. Delia:
With reference to the post above kindly note that your interpretation of what happened in this situation is far from the truth.
Please note that Hon. Robert Arrigo has a group of helpers that help him in his day to day work as Deputy Leader of the Partit Nazzjonalista.
This group of helpers is made up of various individuals with various personal believes, such is that some of us were campaigning for Bernard Grech and some others where campaigning for Adrian Delia in the PN leadership election.
Amongst the assistance this group give to Robert is the managing of his Facebook page, a page which receives hundreds of messages a week. Our team makes sure that Robert’s posts are posted in a timely manner and at key times in order to have the widest possible visibility.
On this occasion the post in question here was posted on behalf of Robert by my colleague and member of Robert’s core group of helpers Alan Abela-Wadge and I felt that it was an exceptionally well written and intended message that I wanted to congratulate Robert for his stance. Low and behold, since I’m an Administrator on this same page, I did the honest mistake of forgetting to switch from the page’s admin to my personal profile and thus my congratulatory message was posted as the page is; as Robert Arrigo.
As you can see this is a genuine and honest mistake and there’s no sinister motive behind it and clearly Robert Arrigo hold no fake Facebook profiles and not even a personal Facebook profile. Everything is handled through his page and through the assistance of his trusted group of helpers.
Thanks and Regards
Mauro Miceli