Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has hit back at a claim that Scottish island flights could be axed under Liberal Democrat proposals to tackle climate change.
Yesterday (Tuesday July 16th) he defended comments from one of two contenders in the Lib Dem leadership race, Sir Ed Davey, who had called for a ban on domestic flights within the UK in a bid to reduce environmental damage.
Sir Ed’s call was lambasted last week by na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP Alasdair Allan, who said the plan would isolate islands and damage island communities and economies.
But Lib Dem MSP for Orkney Liam McArthur says the Dr Allan’s response deliberately misrepresented what was said.
He told welovestornoway.com: "Ed Davey was very clear that his comments related to routes where there was a meaningful alternative, so nothing he said would have any impact on our lifeline flights in the Highlands and Islands.
"Alasdair Allan, of course, knows that but still chooses to misrepresent what is being said here. That is disappointing from a member of a Scottish Government that has declared a climate emergency.
"The Nationalists may not care about the fact that people flying from London to Manchester risk doing irreparable damage to our planet. As a liberal internationalist I know that climate change does not stop at a border."
Kingston and Surbiton MP Sir Ed Davey is contending with East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson to become leader of the Lib-Dems. On Sunday (July 14th) he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that he stood by previous calls for domestic air travel to end.
He said then: “When there are alternatives we can end domestic flights. We need a lot more train capacity, a lot more investment in public transport and while it’s not working, of course you couldn’t end domestic flights, but when you do then we can."
The UK Parliamentary constituency of Orkney and Shetland has been served by a Liberal or Liberal Democrat MP since 1950.
Current MP Alistair Carmichael has served since 2001 and both Orkney and Shetland also elected Liberal Democrat MSPs – Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott. Mr Scott resigned on Monday (July 15th) leaving the seat vacant until a by-election set for August 29th.