Sophy Ridge on Sky News said that while the Scottish First Minister was seen as “competent” on the whole, the Scottish National Party’s failure to secure two simple ferry contracts was the “epitome of incompetence”. She said that voters in the May local elections will be concerned with “issues closer to home” and this controversy could cost the party despite its projected stronghold over the nation.
Sophy Ridge said: “They might be voting on issues closer to home, like the recent controversy over two ferry contracts in Scotland.
“150 million pounds over budget, five years late. I mean often, I think, to viewers across the country you’re seen as someone who is very on top of the details, who is competent.
“But, to be honest, I really don’t understand how buying two ferries can go so badly wrong. It’s the epitome of incompetence, isn’t it?”
Ms Sturgeon said: “Firstly, to agree with you, people will vote on a whole host of issues, and people will vote and record a verdict on me as First Minister and my Government.
“That’s what elections are about. Opinion polls suggest that people will vote SNP more than they will vote for other parties.
“But I don’t take that for granted. The ferries are an issue in terms of the delay to those two ferries and the cost over run.
“I have expressed regret about that. We’re focused on making sure we deliver those ferries.
“The history of that issue, of course, is that two ferries were procured, the shipyard in which they were being constructed was in private ownership.”
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But the controversy over the government’s failure to bring about two ferry contracts on time could prove a thorn in the party’s side.
The two ferries were intended to transport holidaymakers to the islands of Islay and Jura.
They were supposed to cost around £97 million but after the private company went bankrupt, those costs more than doubled.
The Scottish government has been criticised for its industrial policy yet again, after tens of millions of pounds of public money was used for an airport and a marine centre for little tangible returns.