TORY WARNING: Sturgeon broke ministerial code if there are no minutes of key ferries meeting 

Nae chiel among them takin’ notes as required  by parliament regulations, claim

Millionaire Jim McColl and Tory MSP Craig Hoy.

By Bill Heaney

A Scottish Conservative MSP has today written to the First Minister warning her that she will be guilty of breaking the ministerial code unless she can produce minutes of a key meeting.

Craig Hoy, a member of the Public Audit Committee (PAC), has contacted Nicola Sturgeon in the wake of her appearance before the committee last Friday on the ferries scandal. 

The First Minister met the then-owner of Ferguson Marine, Jim McColl, on 31 May 2017 and the issues discussed ought to have been recorded by officials under the regulations. 

Nicola Sturgeon told the committee she was unable to say if minutes had been taken, but Craig Hoy insists that there is no excuse for them not to have been recorded – and that they should be made available to the PAC.  

He has also challenged her evidence that the requirement for a civil servant to be present at the meeting was satisfied by her special adviser being in attendance. 

Ms Sturgeon with local parliamentarians Martin Docherty Hughes and Brendan O’Hara.

The South of Scotland MSP writes that under the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers, they “are considered political appointments and not part of the regular civil service”.  

Craig Hoy said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s meeting with Jim McColl in May 2017 is key to getting to the bottom of the ferries fiasco which has left Scotland’s island communities feeling so betrayed by her government. 

“It would be a clear breach of the Ministerial Code for minutes of such an important meeting not to have been recorded, so I can’t imagine those present would have allowed that to happen. 

“So, it’s incumbent on the First Minister and her staff to locate the minutes, so that we know the reason for the meeting, what was discussed and who was present at it. That’s why I’ve written to her.  

“I’m also seeking clarity from Ms Sturgeon about why she believes her special adviser’s attendance fulfilled the requirement for a permanent secretary or official to be present at the meeting.  

“It’s clear to me that special advisers are political appointees and, therefore, don’t constitute independent civil servants. 

“Ms Sturgeon has claimed throughout the ferries fiasco that she has nothing to hide and is eager to be as transparent as possible. Now is her chance to prove that.”   


  1. Great intention to have ships built in Scotland but utterly poor delivery.

    At least the money spent was spent in Scotland giving jobs, wages, and economic benefit to workers and the community.

    When you pay to have ships built abroad, or wind farm jackets that could have and should have been built here, you get no jobs, no worker wages, no increased economic activity. Folks should think about that.

    But what a pity we didn’t get ships out of it, or at least not yet. That’s the disgrace.

    And now the political call is to build our ships abroad, giving Turkish or whatever other ship yards the jobs.

    Frankly, we don’t need the jobs it seems.

  2. Aye and the Tories back in the day closed down the coal mines to buy Polish coal at around a pound a tonne cheaper.

    And they have been pursuing that policy ever since.

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