In a moment of flagrant disloyalty to his “friend” and former boss Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri told Jason Azzopardi at the Daphne Caruana Galizia inquiry this morning, that he knew the 2017 election would be held in June by March.

Just because he said that I’m not going to dismount from my suspicions that he knew about the coming election well before that date. But March is a very significant month because it is a month earlier than Joseph Muscat has always insisted was when he – the individual with the exclusive constitutional prerogative at the time to set the date for an early election – first decided to call an election a year ahead of time.

Joseph Muscat announced the 3 June date on 1 May 2017. That was 7 days after Daphne Caruana Galizia reported Michelle Muscat’s signature was on documents at Pilatus Bank that proved Egrant was held in her name.

At the time Joseph Muscat called the Egrant story “the biggest lie in Maltese political history”, that it was destabilising the country and that early elections needed to give him a fresh mandate in view of the lies being said about him.

In subsequent discourse, he presented the 1 May announcement as a resignation, the natural consequence of a report in the press which though he denied vehemently still accused him (and his wife) of hiding bribes off-shore.

So the sequence in Joseph Muscat’s narrative – now almost flippantly exposed as a lie by Keith Schembri – was: Daphne reports on Egrant in April, Election is called in May for June.

Ten days into that election campaign Joseph Muscat said “Malta was being tarnished from Bidnija”, an obvious reference to Daphne Caruana Galizia, and it needed to confirm him to office in order to reverse that.

Joseph Muscat has since then stuck to his line that that is why he called the election when he did: that Daphne Caruana Galizia and her reporting were to blame for his decision, that he was saving the country from the harm the journalist was causing it.

Daphne Caruana Galizia was, at the time, sceptical about Joseph Muscat’s official story that he was calling an early election because of what she had reported about Egrant. She wondered aloud why an election had been called so far in advance and she pointed out that at least Christian Kaelin of Henley and Partners had admitted to her having known for some time, well before the Egrant story, that an election was coming.

Keith Schembri’s testimony today does not give a satisfactory answer to the question on why the election was called when it was, and the unnerving suspicion that the electoral game playing may have had something to do with advance awareness of the plot to kill Daphne Caruana Galizia doesn’t go away.

Quite the contrary. Since Keith Schembri, until last year joined at the hip with Joseph Muscat, confirmed that Joseph Muscat lied at the time and ever since about the reason for the timing of the election, the suspicion that the reason is something extremely sinister bubbles up.

But let’s keep things at face value. The inquiry board acknowledged that the questions Jason Azzopardi was asking were interesting. If anyone has followed anything about this case, they will have to agree with that assessment. But, the board said, however interesting, the questioning was “political” and needed to stop.

Once again, I have to say I’m entirely perplexed by this. The inquiry is examining whether decisions taken by the administration (or decisions not taken, for that matter) have created an atmosphere that allowed the killers of Daphne Caruana Galizia to draw up their plans and execute them and her.

Now when Joseph Muscat lied about his reasons for calling an election a year ahead of time (as his number one today testified under oath that he had done) and in that lie blamed flatly Daphne Caruana Galizia for being the cause of such a grave decision, would the judges not consider that this contributed to the atmosphere they should be examining?

I mean, please remember what Joseph Muscat was saying about Daphne about the time: that she was seeking to destabilise the country, for crying out loud. He was lying about her, covering up his real motives, and effectively accusing her of sedition, holding her up as the epicentre of the campaign of lies, as he called them, causing Malta to be tarnished.

Joseph Muscat’s lie, from the very top of the Labour Party regime, was followed up by spectacular bullying, intimidation, trolling, violence and isolation by his thousands of subordinates and tens of thousands of loyal followers. It is in the wake of just that wave that Joseph Muscat’s biggest lie in Maltese political history that even the PN, a few weeks later, would be swept up by the #galiziabarra campaign.

Joseph Muscat’s lie about the reason for calling the election date was the equivalent of the lies at the sermon at Clermont, that started this violent crusade to “make her irrelevant”, to use Joseph Muscat’s own assessment of its outcome. And to use my words for an assessment of the outcome of this violent crusade that Joseph Muscat started on that 1 May 2017 when he lied about why he had decided to call an early election, it ended with her killing.

Yes, this is political. But the inquiry cannot look away.