Fergus Ewing: ‘I don’t think we deserve to be in government’ if A9 not dualled
Fergus Ewing has warned he will not continue to support the SNP government if significant progress is not made on dualling the A9 over the next year.
The veteran SNP MSP, speaking at a summit on the road in Inverness, told attendees the SNP don’t “deserve” to be in government without delivering on this pledge.
Work to dual the A9, the stretch of road running from Perth to Inverness, has been underway for several years.
The Scottish Government committed in 2011 to completing the project by 2025 – but was forced to admit in February this year that that target was “unachievable”.
The then transport minister Jenny Gilruth blamed the delays on the pandemic, Brexit and war in Ukraine.
Ewing made three demands at Tuesday’s summit: a revised deadline for the project, a change in contract to encourage more tenders, and the “political will” to finish.
And he said that the First Minister “must consider his position” if these demands are not met.
Ewing said: “For me this is a matter of honour, I will not stand here in a year’s time and continue to support this government unless they deliver and deliver quickly on all of those three things.
“And if they don’t do that then, frankly, I don’t think we deserve to continue to be in government.”
Transport Secretary Mairi McAllan also spoke at the summit, pledging to bring forward a revised timetable for the dualling after summer recess.
She said: “I am committed, and the First Minister is committed, to the completion of that project. Now clearly things have not moved at the pace that we would have wanted to, but I just want to be clear that dualling the A9 – our commitment – will be the single largest and most complicated transport engineering project in Scotland’s history."
McAllan also pledged to make short-term safety improvements to the road while the dualling programme is underway, saying there was “nothing that I won’t consider”.