SHETLAND’s new MSP Beatrice Wishart brought ferries to the attention of Nicola Sturgeon during First Minster’s Questions on Thursday.
Wishart, who was elected to the role last week, asked the first minister what her priorities were when it came to addressing capacity issues on the Northern Isles ferries.
“During the by-election the first minister experienced first hand the struggles people in Shetland have with capacity for freight, cabin and cars on our lifeline ferry service to Aberdeen,” the Liberal Democrat said.
“What are her priorities for action?”
Sturgeon, who visited Shetland three times during the recent by-election campaign, congratulated Wishart on becoming the isles’ new MSP.
She also paid tribute to the SNP’s own candidate Tom Wills and what she called his “outstanding result” of reducing the Lib Dem majority in Shetland.
Sturgeon said Wills and others in the by-election campaign put forward some “very sensible” proposals for improving ferry services.
“I look forward to having discussions with Beatrice Wishart and her colleagues as we get towards the budget,” she added.
“And perhaps I can also look forward to the support of Beatrice Wishart in the budget when we continue to deliver for the people of Shetland on all of these matters.”
Speaking after the exchange, Wishart said: “I appreciate the welcome to parliament today from the First Minister, but Shetlanders will remember that there were plenty of warm words from the SNP during the by-election campaign on our lifeline ferry service, including a freeze in fares and increased sailings.
“This Government must show that their promises were not simply bargaining for votes. The response today does not fill me with confidence.
“The community has repeatedly voiced what needs to change to make this service fit for purpose now and into the future. So many issues in the isles arise from problems with our transport services. I wrote the Islands Minister during the campaign to voice these concerns and will continue to hold the Government to account during the parliamentary session.”
Wishart, meanwhile, was sworn in as Shetland’s new MSP on Tuesday.
She remains a councillor for Lerwick South at the current time, although it is possible she could step down from the role.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 420 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News