Heated debate on Lochboisdale/ Mallaig ferry link

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The demand for a ferry link between Lochboisdale and Mallaig is being debated at the Scottish Parliament this morning (Thursday).

The debate is taking place led by Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands MSP.

Campaigners from the Missing Link campaign group held a demonstration outside Parliament buildings to stress to MSPs the importance of the ferry link.

Many MSPs are speaking in favour of the introduction of this route.

The motion put forward by Labour’s Elaine Murray MSP has been challenged with an amendment to the motion by the SNP’s Alex Neil MSP.

The Labour motion states: “That the Parliament is disappointed that the draft ferries plan does not include a new Lochboisdale to Mallaig ferry service; recognises the social and economic need for such a service; notes the overwhelming support in the Western Isles and Mallaig for such a service, and calls on the Scottish Government to ensure its inclusion in the ferries plan and to commence the new service as soon as practically possible.”

The amendment by Alex Neil states: “As an amendment to motion S4M-02421 in the name of Elaine Murray, (Ferries), leave out from “is disappointed” to end and insert “welcomes the Scottish Ferry Services: Draft Plan for consultation; in particular the focus of the Scottish Ferries Review and the draft plan on the issues that matter most to island and remote communities and their central theme of further improving Scotland’s ferry services; welcomes the wide engagement and consultation that has taken place throughout the Scottish Ferries Review; notes the Scottish Government’s commitment to fully consider the consultation responses from communities representing their local interests, including those advocating the introduction of a service between Lochboisdale and Mallaig, and looks forward to the publication of the final ferries plan in 2012.”

For further details of the debate and the results of a vote, keep logging on throughout the day.