‘It was YOUR decision!’ Sturgeon blasted for shameless bid to dodge ferry disaster blame

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‘It was YOUR decision!’ Sturgeon blasted for shameless bid to dodge ferry disaster blame

Nicola Sturgeon was confronted over the hundreds of millions overspent on two ferries hit by five years of delays. The Glen Sannox and hull 802 wil

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Nicola Sturgeon was confronted over the hundreds of millions overspent on two ferries hit by five years of delays. The Glen Sannox and hull 802 will now enter service in 2023 at the earliest after earlier plans for them to be deployed in 2018. The extra time is estimated to be costing at least £240 million. Ms Sturgeon said former Transport Secretary Derek Mackay’s position at the time was “a matter of public record”, but she stressed her Cabinet is one of “collective responsibility”.

The former SNP frontbencher quit Holyrood on the day he was due to deliver the Budget in 2020 after details emerged of more than 100 inappropriate messages he had sent a 16-year-old.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross told the First Minister it is “convenient that the person getting the blame is no longer here”.

Ms Sturgeon rejected accusations that she was truing to shift the blame: “This is a Government that operates by collective responsibility and I am responsible, ultimately, for all of the decisions that the Government takes – the buck stops with me.

“I am not defending the cost overruns, the delay around the construction of these ferries – it is completely unacceptable.

Mr Ross said: “With her ultimate responsibility, can she tell us why there is not going to be a public inquiry into this whole scandal?

“We need this public inquiry because Audit Scotland tried to get answers and they couldn’t.”

Mr Ross referenced a passage of the report which said: “There is no documented evidence to confirm why Scottish ministers were willing to accept the risks of awarding the contract to (Ferguson Marine), despite (Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited’s) concerns.

“We consider that there should have been a proper record of this important decision.”

Mr Ross added: “This is one of the most reckless decisions ever taken by a Scottish Government, so far costing a quarter of a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money – why can’t the body charged with scrutinising public spending get a shred of evidence to justify your Government’s decision?”

In response, the Scottish First Minister pointed to a recommendation in the report calling for a “review” to be undertaken when the vessels are complete.

She added: “The Scottish Government will consider what form that further review will take, we will consider that carefully and of course we will report to Parliament in due course.”

The Scottish Tories leader went on to describe the issue with the ferries as “one of the worst public spending disasters since devolution”.



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