The Scottish government’s secretary for transport, Michael Matheson, called transport promises from SNP candidate Tom Wills “very reasonable” and vowed to discuss them with him if he is elected.
Mr Matheson was the latest mainland MSP to make the trip north as part of the upcoming by-election campaign, and he said that he had been “very impressed” with the support that Mr Wills had accrued in the isles.
Earlier in the election campaign, Mr Wills declared that he would fight for a 20 per cent islander discount for cabins on the NorthLink ferries and also raised the prospect of foot passengers on inter-island ferries becoming free.
Those claims, Mr Matheson said on Friday, were “very reasonable” and he pledged to give them “due consideration”.
He said he had already discussed the proposals with Mr Wills and was open to continuing these discussions if Mr Wills was elected.
Asked if these conversations would be off the table if the Liberal Democrat candidate Beatrice Wishart was to win the election instead, Mr Matheson proclaimed that he had “always had an open door approach” to opposing MSP’s and would not be opposed to discussing terms with Ms Wishart instead.
He said that he thought Mr Wills “has produced a very clear way to improve the lives of his constituents” with his transport plan.
And while he admitted the party were facing a “tough task” to win this seat, generally considered to be the safest in Scotland, he said he felt the SNP had a “very good chance” this time around.