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Disgraced former SNP minister Derek Mackay asked to give evidence over ferries fiasco

Derek Mackay.
Disgraced ex-minister Derek Mackay.

Former Scottish transport minister Derek Mackay has been formally asked to set out his account of the controversial ferries contract awarded to Ferguson Marine.

MSPs on Holyrood’s audit committee has asked him to answer questions on decisions made when approving the deal for two ferries.

Once this evidence has been considered, the committee will decide its next steps, which leaves the door open to a personal appearance.

The Scottish Government says a key document shows Mr Mackay was the minister who signed off on the ferries contract offer in 2015.

However, the crucial documents also revealed Deputy First Minister John Swinney was given sight of the deal since he was finance secretary at the time.

Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire for the ferries debacle, with the promised vessels set to be delivered five years late.

They are also running two-and-a-half times over budget, with the bill now expected to total £240 million.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney
Deputy First Minister John Swinney says he only gave budget approval for the contract.

Derek Mackay’s fall from grace

Pressure has been growing for Mr Mackay to appear in Holyrood over the fiasco.

The disgraced former minister resigned from the cabinet in 2020 after it was revealed he sent hundreds of messages to a 16-year-old schoolboy.

He stepped down as an MSP at the end of the parliamentary term in 2021.

The audit committee will continue to probe the issue from next week and has called on Scottish Government and Transport Scotland officials to provide evidence.

Invites went to former Fergusson boss Jim McColl, CMAL chief executive Kevin Hobbs and former chairman Erik Østergaard.

Full list of points that undermine Nicola Sturgeon and SNP’s story over ferries fiasco

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