FERRY STORY: Lib Dems set out key issues Sturgeon should address at ferry inquiry   

Glen Sannox is still to be completed at Port Glasgow.

By Bill Heaney

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today set out a series of key demands of the First Minister for when she addresses the committee into the Western Isles ferry debacle.

The Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee will hear from Nicola Sturgeon on Friday 4 November. It has previously heard evidence from Derek Mackay, who was transport and islands minister at the time the government awarded a contract to build two new ferries.

It has also heard evidence from Clydeside millionaire Jim McColl, the former owner of the shipyard to whom the contract was awarded.

Disgraced Derek Mackay, millionaire Jim McColl and LibDem leader Alex Cole Hamilton.

Mr Cole-Hamilton is asking the First Minister to: 

  1. Provide full disclosure on why the Scottish Government overruled Transport Scotland officials to give the contract for the Glen Sannox and Hull 802 to Ferguson’s and for what reason she made the announcement of Ferguson’s preferred bidder status.
  2. Specify what investigations have been done around allegations that suggest the procurement process for these ferries was rigged in favour of Ferguson Marine.
  3. Set out a realistic and detailed timeline for when the ferries are likely to be completed
  4. Commit to ministerial resignations if there are further delays and increased costs
  5. Announce a long-term investment plan in Scotland’s ferry network so that vessels are procured well in advance of political and public pressure
  6. Announce the creation of an economic strategy which will clearly determine how government projects represent value for money

 Mr Cole-Hamilton said:”There is a real risk that Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance at the Public Audit Committee will only herald more filibustering and finger-pointing.

“When her disgraced former transport minister came to give evidence, he was hurried out the back door. His refusal to apologise for the catastrophe epitomised the SNP’s deluded approach to the whole sorry affair.

“That is why I am calling on the First Minister to address four key issues when she gives evidence. She must announce a new economic framework which can show how government projects represent value for money. She must also announce a long-term investment plan in Scotland’s ferries and outline a likely timeline for the completion of the new ships.

“If delays and costs continue to spiral, ministers must be held accountable; they have dodged even a morsel of responsibility for far too long.”

Pictures by Bill Heaney

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