Since before my election as MSP for Argyll & Bute I have backed calls for an appropriate inquiry into the 30-year-long saga of the Dunoon/Gourock ferry and have said so publicly ("MSP backs investigation into 'bathtub boats' ferry service", The Herald, November 21).
European law, among other factors, made it impossible to sustain the publicly funded vehicle service.
Regrettably, no proposal for a vehicle component was received when the tender process took place last year. Successive SNP ministers have sought to find a solution.
Most recently Alex Neil helped to establish the tripartite arrangement between Government, local councils and the Ferry Action Group which has commissioned a new study into the feasibility of such a vehicle/passenger service and has driven improvements in the Argyll Ferries passenger-only service, which everyone accepts got off to a bad start. I have strongly supported that process.
People in Dunoon are aware that I disagree with the Ferry Action Group on a number of points but I absolutely support the right of their members to go to the Ombudsman. I am very surprised a Labour and a Liberal Democrat MSP clearly believe I should, instead, have opposed them.
It has, I believe, been the hallmark of the SNP that we try to stand up for those – all of those – whom we represent.
MSPs who believe they should do anything else should remember Para 3.1.5 of our code of conduct which says, clearly and unequivocally: "Members should be accessible to the people of the areas for which they have been elected to serve and represent their interests conscientiously."
Michael Russell SNP MSP Argyll & Bute,
81 Argyll Street,
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