HUMZA Yousaf has rejected claims it will take until 2050 for the A9 to be dualled. 

The First Minister said his government was committed to working on the notorious Highland road, and that an update would be made in the Autumn

However, the SNP leader was challenged about a statement on the infrastructure project due to be delivered on Monday that was suddenly cancelled. 

Douglas Ross told MSPs during First Minister's Questions that he believed this was unprecedented. 

READ MORE: Failure to dual A9 costing lives

On Monday, a Government-initiated question (GIQ) was tabled by the SNP backbencher Jim Fairlie. 

These are usually used in Holyrood to allow ministers to make an announcement on a specific subject.

The question was then withdrawn.

Mr Yousaf said it was because of the appointment of a new transport team. 

Kevin Stewart resigned as transport minister last week, citing ill health.

The unexpected resignation led to a shake-up, with Màiri McAllan, the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition adding transport to her brief. 

Former culture minister Fiona Hyslop was also drafted back into government to become Transport Minister. 

Mr Yousaf told MSPs: “The GIQ was withdrawn. Douglas Ross, I don't know if he was in the chamber or not this week or doing one of his other jobs, but if he was here in this chamber, he would have seen that we have a new transport team in place. 

“So it's only right that I've asked that transport team to look at the detail of the dualling of the A9." 

The First Minister then referenced the daming report by the Commons Privileges Committee into Boris Johnson's conduct in the Commons. 

“It's also incredibly important for government in particular, that when we do give information to this parliamentary chamber that it is the most up to date, and the most accurate information that we can provide and today of all days the Conservatives should understand the value of accurate statements made to this parliament.”

READ MORE: Boris Johnson guilty of deliberately and repeatedly misleading MPs

The Scottish Government committed to widening around 80 miles of single-carriageway in 11 sections along the road in 2011.

However, only 11 miles in two sections have been dualled in the last 12 years. 

Earlier this year, the then transport minister Jenny Gilruth told parliament that the ambition of dualling the road between Perth and Inverness by 2025 had become “simply unachievable”. 

Last year 13 people lost their lives on the A9, of those 12 were on single-carriageway sections.

The Herald:

Mr Ross repeatedly asked Mr Yousaf what the Government had planned to announce.

“Why did it have to be withdrawn? What did the SNP want to tell this parliament and Scotland about the A9 that it now sounds like the First Minister is not going to tell us until the Autumn? These are serious questions that need to be answered. “

“People from Perthshire to the highlands are scathing about this government's record,” Mr Ross added. 

“They feel they're being forgotten by SNP politicians at Holyrood. They say failing to get this fixed is a dereliction of duty. 

“Campaigners say they fear that dualling the A9 will now take to 2050. Is it really going to take another 30 years to fulfil a promise made by the SNP more than a decade and a half ago?”

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"It is it is not going to take to 2050 to dual the A9,” Mr Yousaf said. 

“One of the other challenges we have with capital infrastructure projects is the cost, the increasing costs because of high inflationary costs, something that the Conservatives should know well about given that they have been the architects of the sky high inflation that we have seen because of the economic mismanagement of the public finances. 

“And of course, it is the Conservative UK Government that has repeatedly cut our capital budget over the years, why we have to make extremely difficult choices. 

“But even amongst those difficult choices, let me once again reiterate the cast iron guarantee that we have of dualling the A9, building upon the progress we have already made.“

The First Minister later said he would look into the case of a man who was told he faces “delay and disruption” to his cancer treatment due to a lack of oncologists.

Anas Sarwar raised the case of Martin Graham at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.

A letter to Mr Graham said that due to a shortage of oncologists, he would face “delay and disruption” to his treatment until a replacement can be found.

Mr Sarwar asked: “After 16 years of SNP Government, why is there no oncologist anywhere in Scotland to treat Mr Graham?”

The First Minister said he would be happy to look into the detail of the case Mr Sarwar raised.

There is a global shortage of oncologists, he said, and work to increase the numbers in Scotland has been ongoing since 2007.