MPs from the Scottish Affairs Committee of the Westminster Parliament spent all day in Lewis yesterday (Monday February 18th) - visiting crofting and meeting with local crofters, businessmen and opinion-formers.
Last night they held a special meeting in Stornoway Town Hall to gather a range of opinions about issues affecting the local area.
Scottish Crofting Federation Vice-chair, Donald MacKinnon commented, "Following a very enthusiastic breakfast roundtable discussion, the MPs visited SCF members' crofts in north-west Lewis.
“They were told that support must continue for crofting in these most marginal areas. The Less Favoured Area Support was always top of the list.
“This is coupled with the fear that a no deal Brexit would be devastating for crofting. MPs clearly got the message.”
Pete Wishart, MP for Perthshire North and Perth, who chairs the committee, said they had had a fantastic day visiting crofts across the north of Lewis and trying to understand the challenges which they face. This part of a wider investigation of agriculture as a whole across Scotland.
He pointed out that the Scottish Affairs Committee - which scrutinises the work of the Scotland Office while having a general overview of all Scottish affairs still defat with at Westminster – had never been to the Isle of Lewis before so “this is a first for us.”
The evening meeting was aimed out finding out what the community as a whole would like the Scottish Affairs Committee to take an interest in. They have had similar sessions in Inverness and the Borders.
To gather opinion, there was a consultation with the audience about topic areas - and then the attendees were divided into five tables covering Infrastructure -ferries , deliveries, broadband connectivity; Brexit ; agriculture including fisheries crofting and forestry; economy including depopulation and investment; and energy -including local access to renewables resources and funding.
More about the Scottish Affairs Committee can be found on their website -