The deputy first minister told opposition benches to "stop shouting at me" after he was asked to apologise again for the ferry fiasco that has seen further delays and soaring costs in the delivery of lifeline vessels.

A parliamentary row erupted after Scottish Conservative Highland and Islands MSP Donald Cameron sought another apology for the Scottish Government's "complete and reckless neglect of our ferry service".

It came after it was confirmed that due to "persistent design gaps and build errors" progress had been slower than planned for the first of the vessels due to come online, Glen Sannox which will now not be delivered in time for the summer season.

It is scheduled for autumn 2023 rather than the end of May 2023 previously estimated, with what Mr Swinney described as a "contract backstop" of no later than the end of December 2023.

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The second vessel, only known as Hull 802 is now not expected online till the autumn of 2024 having already been delayed to the end of March 2024. The contract backstop was stated as being at the end of December 2024.


But Swinney responded to Mr Cameron saying he had already apologised in an response to a question from Scottish Labour's transport spokesman Neil Bibby.

He said: "I thought one of the obligations of members of parliament, and I'm really surprised about this from Donald Cameron, is to listen to what people actually say.

" I'm not sure if Mr Cameron was late getting here... or he has obviously demonstrating he wasn't listening. So I apologise to people again, for the inconvenience and distress and difficulty that's been caused.


"But I also want to put on the record that at the same time as all of this has been going on, the government's investment in ferries has been increasing very significantly indeed."

After interjections from opposition benches, Mr Swinney said:  "Don't start shouting at me. Just don't start shouting at me. Listen to this for a minute. Just listen to it for a minute.

"A few years ago, there was no Mallaig to Lochboisdale [on South Uist], the government put the money in place for that to be the case. We put a new boat onto the Stornoway to Ullapool route, the Loch Seaforth..."


After further interjections, Mr Swinney to applause said: "If Mr Lumsden [Douglas Lumsden, the Scottish Conservatives' MSP for north east Scotland] would stop shouting for a minute and listen to my answer, Parliament might be a slightly better place as a consequence."

He added: "So, yes, there are difficulties. Yes, there is inconvenience. Yes, there is distress. There's also been a heck of a lot of investment as well."

Liam McArthur, deputy presiding officer then warned MSPs to allow for answers to be listened to.

He said: "I will repeat my call for questioners to be listened to and the responses to be listened to and we will get more questions in."