Ferry Procurement (Documentation)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 28 April 2022.

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The First Minister:

The Tory leadership is in some difficulty, but this really is desperate stuff. I have quoted from the advice that was given to ministers and from the Transport Scotland letter that went to CMAL, narrating the decision that ministers took.

Let me go back to the issue of non-disclosure agreements. I will say this very clearly: nobody in the employment of Ferguson’s shipyard will be prevented in any way, shape or form from speaking in full to Audit Scotland. [

Interruption

.] I point again to the fact that it was the Scottish Government that negotiated with FMEL’s administrators to release employees from the confidentiality obligations that they had back then. Therefore, everybody will be fully free and enabled to speak to Audit Scotland.

On my views on island communities, I think—I will be corrected if I am wrong—that the

Official Report will show the regret that I expressed about the impact on those communities.

In terms of a fuller review, in the first exchange that we had on the issue after the Audit Scotland report was published, I pointed to the recommendation about having a fuller review and said that we would consider the terms of that. However, I think—and I think that the Auditor General said this last week—that the focus and priority now must be on completing the ferries. A key milestone in that vein was delivered yesterday.

I take full responsibility for everything that this Government does, and I always will. Perhaps that is the difference between me and some other leaders across these islands.