Scottish tycoon brands Nicola Sturgeon a ‘liar’ over botched ferries deal

Bestinau got that-

A damning recent Audit Scotland report disclosed how the shipyard told ferry company Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) that it was unable to offer the normal 100 per cent refund guarantee to the taxpayer.

CMAL then pleaded with Transport Scotland not to award the contract to the company, arguing it was too risky, but this was rejected by ministers. It nationalised the yard in 2019 after it went into administration.

However, the Auditor General for Scotland has expressed frustration at the lack of any official record of their discussions about why they pressed ahead, saying it was “so unusual in the scale of this contract”.

Mr McColl has previously alleged that the deal was rushed through for political reasons to give Ms Sturgeon a boost at the 2015 SNP conference and the following year’s Holyrood election.

In a radio interview on Monday, Ms Sturgeon argued that without the contract, the yard would have “almost certainly closed and the 400 people employed there, earning a wage, supporting their families, would not be in that employment”.

Job numbers disuputed

However, Mr McColl, who built Clyde Blowers into a world-leading engineering firm, told BBC Radio Scotland: “That’s a lie. At the time there were 150 employees, not 400. I think she was a bit rattled in the interview and she mixed it up with the statement that they made about saving the yard.” 

Challenged over his allegation that Ms Sturgeon’s claim was a lie, he retorted: “Well, it’s not true.”

Arguing that the yard was not reliant on the contract, Mr McColl said it had “outstanding” fabrication and construction work, and it was building a different ferry.

A spokesman for the First Minister said: “Not for the first time, Mr McColl’s comments on a BBC interview are at odds with the facts. The reality, as a simple reading of the First Minister’s interview shows, is that she was clearly referring to the 400 people ‘currently’ employed at the yard.

“And those 400 jobs would not currently exist if the Scottish Government had not taken the action we did to save the yard. That is a fact.”

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