Nicola Sturgeon Calls Jim McColl’s Ferry Comments ‘Deceitful in the Extreme’

In March Mr McColl said he would not have signed the deal had he known Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) had reservations.

He claimed the Port Glasgow shipyard failed to agree a price with ferry owner CalMac CMAL when the contract was announced and has since called on Ms Sturgeon to lift the non-disclosure agreements, which, in his view, prevented the former managers from expressing themselves.

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Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Dunfermline. Photo: Lisa Ferguson

Responding to the comments, Ms Sturgeon told Good Morning Scotland on Monday: ‘I think it’s extremely dishonest because the issue we’re talking about here was the refusal or failure of Jim McColl’s company not to provide what ‘she had originally announced, which is a full money-back guarantee.

“Now, if Jim McColl says he wasn’t aware of this at the time and he wasn’t aware of the concerns that were expressed, then I find that a little strange.”

Ms Sturgeon said that was ‘clearly not the case’, there was no documentation of how the contract was decided.

During Prime Minister’s Questions last week, Ms Sturgeon said only one document was missing, but the decision was clear from the surrounding documentation after Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the row of ferries looked like an “almighty cover-up”.

The Prime Minister also said that the Ferguson shipyard would “almost certainly have closed and the 400 people employed there, earning wages, supporting their families, would not be in that job”.

Asked why two ferries had been ordered by the Scottish Government despite CMAL indicating the contract was a risk, Ms Sturgeon said there were ‘basic mitigations’. These included increasing the amount of money withheld until the end of the contract by CMAL and mitigations to require suppliers to provide money-back guarantees, the prime minister said.

Ms Sturgeon said ‘at every moment’ the government acted to protect jobs and commercial shipbuilding at the Clyde.

She said the problems with ferry delays and cost overruns were “deeply regrettable”.

Her comments came as former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said Ms Sturgeon called Scots ‘crazy’ over the ferry scandal.

Ms Davidson said: “The SNP are more arrogant and complacent than ever.

“The ferry scandal shows that Nicola Sturgeon thinks she can get away with treating the Scottish public like fools.”

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