4 Dec 2019
The SNP faces being sued by its own quango over a controversial ferry contract, it has been confirmed.
CalMac, which operates the majority of Scotland’s ferry services, has “raised legal proceedings” against the Scottish Government after it missed out on a tender to run the Northern Isles services.
That means the award of the contract to Serco has been suspended.
The organisation is part-owned by the Scottish Government, and is already mired in problems with the SNP government over delays to two new vessels for its Clyde and Hebridean services.
In a letter to counterparts, transport minister Michael Matheson confirmed: “Earlier today I answered a Government Initiated Question informing the Scottish Parliament that CalMac Ferries Ltd have raised legal proceedings on the Scottish Ministers’ decision that CalMac’s tender to operate the Northern Isles ferry services was unsuccessful.”
Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston said:
“It’s quite incredible that the SNP is being sued by one if its own quangos.
“It tells you everything you need to know about the mess the SNP government has made of ferry services that a publicly-owned company wants to take it to court, leading to more uncertainty and delay for travellers.
“When factored in with the completely unacceptable delays with the two new ferries being built, the delays on reducing fares to Orkney and Shetland and its refusal to meet its pledge on fair funding for inter-island ferries, this really is turning into a fiasco.
“People in the islands want assurances that these vital links will be secure and that improvements to the service will start to get underway.
“But with the SNP in sole charge of transport for more than 12 years, things just keep getting worse.
“This is what happens when you have a nationalist government completely distracted by the constitution.”