Regan apologises ‘on behalf of SNP’ to Highlands over A9

SNP leadership contender Ash Regan has apologised “on behalf” of the party to Highland communities after the latest delay to dualling the A9.

Transport minister Jenny Gilruth announced earlier this month that the deadline to dual the remaining parts of the road between Perth and Inverness by 2025 was “simply unachievable”.

Speaking to MSPs earlier this month, the minister said just one tender was submitted for the section between Tomatin and Moy, which was well over the anticipated £115 million cost and would not present value for money to the taxpayer.

Writing on her campaign website, Ms Regan said a government she led would appoint a project director to oversee the dualling, who would provide public updates every month and further submissions to Holyrood every quarter.

She also announced a project tracker would be erected in the foyer of the Scottish Government’s headquarters at St Andrew’s House.

“This is a total drop of the ball,” Ms Regan said.

“We debated at conference, we made a manifesto promise, we approved the work in Parliament, and then we failed to deliver.

“Trust is everything in politics and this is not acceptable. On behalf of the SNP I sincerely apologise.

“I have visited many of the northern communities this weekend and the feelings of anger and betrayal are real and heartfelt. This is a project that needs serious attention and a new way of thinking.”

She added: “I would ensure all data was made public immediately, rather than being hidden until requested via freedom of information act requests.

“With greater scrutiny and accountability I genuinely believe that even though delays have occurred – and may occur again due to external factors – there would be a better chance of a quicker success and the communities would feel acknowledged in their grievance.”

Ms Regan’s latest intervention is another swipe at a government she was part of until late last year when she resigned in protest over gender reforms.

Since launching her campaign, the former community safety minister has called for SNP chief executive – and Nicola Sturgeon’s husband – Peter Murrell to resign, called for the deposit return scheme to be paused and said she would not fight the Section 35 order that blocked the Scottish Government’s gender reforms.