The issues being dealt with by MP for the Western Isles

Maritime matters have been high on my agenda this summer.

From the unexpected arrival of the Transocean Winner oil rig in August; the push for the return of an Emergency Towing Vessel on the west coast; to the campaign for UK Government action on crew shortages facing the fishing industry - it has been a busy time.

My campaign for the UK Government to take action to support the fishing industry to crew boats is gathering pace and is backed by the voice of the industry, Fishing News. With several local boats currently tied up due to a lack of labour, this is an issue which cannot be ignored. I am waiting for a formal response from the UK Immigration Minister.

I want to see boats kept at sea and contributing to the local economy. This can be done through the reintroduction of a scheme for skippers facing crew shortages to be allowed to recruit workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

I am pleased with the news last week that flights between Stornoway and Benbecula are to resume on a Friday – this is positive, but not far enough. The service must be reinstated as a five day service and the Barra-Benbecula service should also be resumed to give our communities the connections they deserve.

Many people are left struggling to try and understand why the council undermined island transport in the first place by removing flights, when everyone else involved is trying to improve transport.

The fate of Transocean Winner has dominated the headlines and I am very pleased to have received a positive response from the Transport Select committee to my request that they carry out an inquiry on this matter.

Questions need to be asked about the movement of this rig when there were severe weather warnings and also the position of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) in making decisions about the location of Emergency Towing Vessels. I recently presented a petition on the ETV matter to 10 Downing Street together with my SNP MP colleagues representing the Highlands.

The message from my constituents this summer has been that they need strong broadband connections and I am meeting the Minister for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock next month to discuss plans to reach the hardest to reach parts of the country, many of which are in the islands.