Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has called on the Scottish Government to examine the implications of the recent Brexit vote on arrangements for tendering the Northern Isles ferry contract.
To date, the Scottish Government has insisted that EU law dictates that a public authority cannot ward a contract, without a tender process, to another public body. In light of the recent outcome of the referendum on UK membership of the EU, it is unclear if or how these rules will apply in future, including with respect to the next ferry contract negotiations.
Commenting, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
“Even before last month’s vote, it was abundantly clear that important lessons needed to be learned from the last time the Northern Isles ferry contract was tendered. There can be no repeat of the situation that saw local stakeholders left in the dark while a hatchet was taken to services on the Pentland Firth route and inadequate cover provided during the refit period.
“As for the tendering process itself, Scottish Ministers have always argued that this is a requirement under EU rules. Given the result of the referendum last month, however, it is not at all clear whether or not that remains the case.
“These are lifeline services for our island communities. People in Orkney and Shetland need reassurances from the Scottish government that the tendering process will be fair, transparent and indeed necessary, given the costs involved.”
Notes to editors
Mr McArthur has submitted the below written parliamentary questions.
To ask the Scottish Government what provision it has made regarding negotiations on the forthcoming Northern Isles ferry services contract in light of the Brexit vote.
S5W-01755: To ask the Scottish Government what provision it has made regarding negotiations on the forthcoming Northern Isles ferry services contract in light of the Brexit vote.
S5W-01756: To ask the Scottish Government what consideration it has given to the potential impact of the Brexit vote on the next Northern Isles ferry services contract tendering process and future such tendering exercises.