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Jack McConnell claims SNP may have ‘broken law’ over missing ferry paperwork

Jack McConnell hit out over the ferries scandal.
Jack McConnell hit out over the ferries scandal.

Scotland’s former first minister Jack McConnell has claimed the SNP may have breached the Freedom of Information Act over missing documents for a major ferry contract.

The ex-Scottish Labour chief said police should be called in after the Scottish Government admitted they could not find key paperwork for a deal agreed with Ferguson Marine in 2015.

The shipbuilding firm – which has since been nationalised – was contracted to build two new ferries by 2018.

But the construction process has been mired by significant delays and the boats are still yet to be completed.

Some blame over the fiasco has been shifted onto disgraced ex-SNP finance chief Derek Mackay, who was transport and islands minister at the time.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Nicola Sturgeon was forced on Friday to deny a cover-up over the scandal.

Auditor General Stephen Boyle expressed frustration over not being able to review key documentation as to why the contract was awarded without a full refund guarantee.

Lord McConnell wrote: “I’m sure that when we wrote and then passed the Freedom of Information Act we included clauses to make the destruction or removal of official documents a crime.

“I hope the BBC and the Auditor General are asking Police Scotland to investigate.”

‘The paperwork cannot be located’

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “A thorough search has been conducted and the paperwork/documentation cannot be located.

“As outlined in the Audit Scotland report, we have committed to a formal review following the completion of the vessels project.”

The two ships intended to serve Scotland’s island communities are now expected to finally be completed next year.

Mr Boyle told MSPs in Holyrood that he believes a record was not created at the time and that information is being not withheld.

‘Gross misrepresentation’

Former Ferguson Marine boss Jim McColl again attacked the Scottish Government after the Audit Scotland report was published.

The business tycoon said their version of events could not be “further from the truth”.

He claimed the Audit Scotland findings were a “gross misrepresentation” of what took place.

5 points that undermine Nicola Sturgeon and SNP’s story over ferries fiasco

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