KENNY SEEKS ANSWERS ON FERRIES

EMBARGO: Monday 2 May 2022, 00:01 hrs MACASKILL CALLS ON STURGEON TO “COME CLEAN” OVER FERRIES CONTRACT “SCOTTISH PUBLIC DESERVE ANSWERS TO KEY QUESTIONS” The former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MP has today (MONDAY) written to the First MinisterNicola Sturgeon MSP demanding that she “come clean” and  provide “straight answers” to the questions about the contract signed by Scottish MinistersContinue reading "KENNY SEEKS ANSWERS ON FERRIES"

KENNY SEEKS ANSWERS ON FERRIES

EMBARGO: Monday 2 May 2022, 00:01 hrs

MACASKILL CALLS ON STURGEON TO “COME CLEAN” OVER FERRIES CONTRACT

“SCOTTISH PUBLIC DESERVE ANSWERS TO KEY QUESTIONS”

The former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill MP has today (MONDAY) written to the First MinisterNicola Sturgeon MSP demanding that she “come clean” and  provide “straight answers” to the questions about the contract signed by Scottish Ministers in relation to the yet to be completed Glen Sannox (801) and vessel 802 which are now over budget by £152 million and behind schedule.  On Friday Mr MacAskill called for a full judge led Public Inquiry to get to the truth of what has gone wrong.

In a statement Kenny MacAskill MP said:

“The First Minister has made it clear that the ‘buck’ stops with her over the failure to deliver the two ferries, Glen Sannox (801) and 802 at Ferguson’s within budget and on time. 

“This is possibly the biggest scandal of the SNP’s time in Government and the Scottish public rightly demand answers to key questions about the award and management of this contract.

“That is why I have today written to the First Minister demanding that she ‘come clean’ over the ferries contract.

“I have asked Nicola Sturgeon MP to provide ‘straight answers’ to the following key questions.

“1. Will you please confirm which of the Scottish Ministers signed off this contract and the date on which the contract was signed? 

“2.  What was your own role and involvement in the decision to award the contract? What part did you play in the discussions between Ministers, civil servants and outside agencies in the run up to the contract being signed off?  Will you provide the dates of all meetings where the contract was discussed where you were present?

“3. Was a ministerial direction, overriding civil service advice, in relation to the allocation of expenditure, given at any stage during the Scottish Government’s decision making process?

“4. On what date did you become aware that vital information and documentation relating to the ferries contract had gone missing, had been removed or was not available as it should have been?

“5. Can you confirm that no documents were deliberately destroyed following the receipt of a Freedom of Information Request request for information relating to the contract?

“6. Will there be an independent investigation into the missing vital documentation? If so when and by whom?

“7. Why was the mandatory refund guarantee not sought as part of the ferries contract?

“8.  What assurances have you or your Ministers sought that the Public Finance and Accountability Act has not been breached in relation to missing information having been deliberately destroyed?

“The Scottish Government should have a laser like focus on delivering a maritime strategy to build ferries on the last yard on the lower Clyde.  Instead we find them more interested in covering up their past mistakes. 

“We have island communities who depend on ferries and a dedicated workforce at Ferguson Marine with the skills to deliver them.  Were that we had a Government with the same commitment.”

ENDS 

LETTER TO THE FIRST MINISTER

The Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP

First Minister

St Andrew’s House

2 Regent Road

EDINBURGH

EH1 2DG

Dear First Minister

Ferry Contract for vessels 801 and 802

I write directly to you as First Minister as you have made it clear that the “buck stops with me” (Official Report, 24 March 2022, col.12) in the continuing failure to deliver the two ferries, Glen Sannox (801) and vessel 802 at Ferguson Marine within budget and on time.  The cost over-run is £152 million and rising while questions continue to arise on an almost daily basis about the way in which this contract was signed off by Ministers.

I write specifically in relation to the statement in the Auditor General’s recent report that there was “insufficient documentary evidence” to explain why the contract was awarded without a full refund guarantee.  I note your public statement that the absence of this information is “regrettable”.  In addition it remains unclear which of your Ministers signed off the contract and what your own role was in that decision.  The public may reflect that this situation requires not just “regret”  but full openness and transparency.  I would therefore be most grateful if you would address the following:

1. Will you please confirm which of the Scottish Ministers signed off this contract and the date on which the contract was signed? 

2. What was your own role and involvement in the decision to award the contract? What part did you play in the discussions between Ministers, civil servants and outside agencies in the run up to the contract being signed off?  Will you provide the dates of meetings where the contract was discussed where you were present?

3.  Was a ministerial direction, overriding civil service advice, in relation to the allocation of expenditure, given at any stage during the Scottish Government’s decision making process?

4. On what date did you become aware that vital information and documentation relating to the ferries contract had gone missing, had been removed or was not available as it should have been?

5. Can you confirm that no documents were deliberately destroyed following the receipt of a Freedom of Information request for information relating to the contract?

6. Will there be an independent investigation into the missing vital documentation? If so when and by whom?

7. Why was the mandatory refund guarantee not sought as part of the ferries contract?

8. What assurances have you or your Ministers sought that the Public Finance and Accountability Act has not been breached in relation to missing information having been deliberately destroyed?

These questions go to the very heart of public administration in Scotland, including the disbursal of public funds. 

I trust that you will respond with full candour and in early course.

Yours sincerely

Kenny MacAskill MP

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