Agriculture Minister Francesco
Lollobrigida said Wednesday that a furore about him requesting a
late-running train to make an extraordinary stop earlier this
month so he could get to an official appointment by car was
"completely trumped up".
The minister, a member of Premier Giorgia Meloni's right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, stressed during a question time session in the Lower House that he had been on "normal business for my department".
Lollobrigida got a Turin-Salerno Frecciarossa he was on to make an extraordinary stop near Rome so he could reach an engagement in the crime-ridden Naples backwater Caivano by car because the train was running 111 minutes late.
The train operator has said the stop did not cause any additional delay for passengers.
Opposition parties called for Lollobrigida's resignation, with the populist 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader and former premier Giuseppe Conte saying his conduct "sends a devastating signal", and Democratic Party (PD) leader Elly Schlein describing the behaviour as "arrogant and indecent".
However, the FdI said that the flak directed at him was "disgraceful" and "unacceptable" and that he had only made sure he could get to an important event like the opening of a park in Caivano, which the government is trying to clean up after the July youth gang rape of two young cousins.
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