Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 27th March 2003.
I share the concern that George Lyon has expressed to secure the service, to which we are committed. In that regard, because of the failure of bids coming forward, we have approached a number of shipping companies that we believe could conceivably run the service. We have inquired whether there are grounds on which we might be able to make that service happen with their support. It would not be appropriate to go into the names of those companies at this stage, but George Lyon should rest assured that every company that we believe is capable of running the service will be talked to about that matter.
Clearly, if the process fails, ministers would be required to look at what other process could be adopted in order to make the service happen. We want to explore every avenue and we will leave no stone unturned in the current tendering process and criteria to get that service in place.