Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said: “I am extremely worried about the impact this ongoing ferry fiasco is having on the people and businesses who are reliant on the lifeline ferry routes that these vessels are supposed to be serving."
“SNP ministers just don’t seem to understand how critical our transport infrastructure is to securing the investment needed to provide jobs for our young people."
“How on earth can we tackle the threat posed by depopulation if SNP ministers can’t even deliver something as basic as replacement ferries in a timely and cost-effective manner?”
The ferry scandal - which has delivered no vessels and cost the taxpayer £230 million - “goes right to the top” of the SNP government, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
The inquiry into the botched construction of two CalMac ferries heard damning evidence today from Jim McColl, the businessman behind the Ferguson Marine shipyard where the project is taking place.
He accused ministers of defamation, and said only a full public inquiry would flush out the truth behind the failed scheme.
He said the Scottish Government had withheld some “key documents” from publication, and that Nicola Sturgeon had announced the deal for the two vessels before anything had even been agreed.
Holyrood’s Rural Economy Committee also heard that mediation between interested parties in the construction of the ferries could have saved millions, but was never properly organised.
Scottish Conservative shadow transport minister Jamie Greene said:
“The plot thickens with every piece of evidence this inquiry hears. SNP ministers from the First Minister down are mired in this shambles."
“The taxpayer is out of pocket to the tune of £230 million, no new ferries have been delivered for our island communities, and now the SNP is doing everything it can to cover up this scandal."
“This goes straight to the top of the SNP Government and the time for apologies has long past. The First Minister, her finance secretary and a raft of SNP ministers must be properly held to account over their gross incompetence and negligence."
“Jim McColl is right in demanding that only a full public inquiry, with witnesses giving evidence under oath, will unearth why hundreds of millions of pounds of public money has been so badly mishandled by the SNP.”