Green Minister Lorna Slater was charged with ‘spectacular display of hypocrisy’ last night for chartering a private catamaran to visit a Scottish island.
The beleaguered minister will travel to the Isle of Rum by ship today, rather than using a Scottish Government CalMac ferry.
Ms Slater has previously been called a ‘hypocrite’ for urging Scots to suspend domestic flights before heading off to Canada on her own, where her partner, Gordon Craig, shared photos of the pair going on a dog sled ride.
Pictures on social media also show the MSP vacationing with Mr Craig in Japan, which is more than 5,500 miles from Scotland. They enjoyed tasting sake and whiskey, strolling through the old imperial palace and trying on samurai armor.
Today critics said Ms Slater’s decision to rely on a chartered service to the Isle of Rum would fall through “like a lead balloon” with islanders desperate for better ferry services, accusing her of behaving “live royalty.”
Green Minister Lorna Slater and her partner Gordon go on a dog sled trip in the Canadian Rockies
Ms Slater is co-leader of the Greens alongside Patrick Harvie (left). They currently have a power-sharing agreement with the SNP. The pair will be photographed with former Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon in August 2021
Rum is served by CalMac as part of the Small Isles route, but the usual ship has moved due to chaos elsewhere on the ferry network, with restrictions currently placed on the number of passengers who can travel.
The fare for the 85-minute crossing would have cost Mrs Slater £4.70.
The Scottish government – which includes the SNP and the Greens in a governing coalition – has declined to say how much it will pay for the private charter.
Donald Cameron, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said: ‘Lorna Slater’s hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness is breathtaking.
‘The Greens are always lecturing the public about the need to use public transport, but she is pleased that the Scottish Government is chartering a private boat to take her to and from Rum.
Her excuse for doing that — that the CalMac roster essentially doesn’t fit — will go down like a lead balloon with island communities.
“Those who rely on rescue ferry services don’t have the luxury of renting a private boat to travel.
“Instead, they depend on an aging and unreliable CalMac fleet they’ve been saddled with because of the outrageous government incompetence that Lorna Slater is the center of.
“Her tone-deaf indifference to them is another kick in the teeth of betrayed islanders.”
Mrs. Slater arrives at Rum around 10am today and departs around 2:30pm.
She will travel on a catamaran chartered by Western Isles Cruises. The ship is expected to be the MV Larven, which can carry 42 passengers.
The Minister of Green walks near the Imperial Palace during a trip to Kyoto in Japan
Ms. Slater has been criticized for chartering a boat to Rum Island instead of taking a public ferry. The vessel is expected to be the MV Larvae (pictured)
The Isle of Rum is located in the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland
An SNP politician told the Mail: ‘Those Greens are once again demonstrating a spectacular display of hypocrisy.
“They keep lecturing the rest of us about using public transportation, and Lorna Slater goes and uses a private charter.
“I know they don’t like royalty, but they act like kings themselves. They clearly think the CalMac ferries – which they actually operate – are for the plebs, like the expendable fishermen whose livelihoods they want to destroy.”
CalMac’s government-funded timetable means that if Mrs. Slater wanted to return on the same day, she would spend less time on Rum than if she rented a private boat.
A warning on the website reads: ‘As MV Loch Bhrusda provides additional support in the Outer Isles, Spanish John (ferry) will operate for vehicles and freight and MV Larven will operate passenger service to the Small Isles on Saturdays.
“Passenger numbers will be limited and advance booking is essential.”
The Scottish government said Ms Slater will meet islanders to discuss important issues ‘including the future of Kinloch Castle’ after the sale fell through.
The couple vacation in Neuschwanstein, home to the romantic Neuschwanstein Castle
City financier and Tory Party donor Jeremy Hosking was set to buy the former hunting lodge from government agency NatureScot, but the Isle of Rum Community Trust claimed there was a lack of information about his plans.
Mr Hosking backed out of the purchase in March this year, claiming he was ‘tired of being a pawn in a game’ between NatureScot’s ‘sensible head’ and the ‘head of anarchy’ of the Department of the Secretary of Biodiversity, Ms. Slater.
He said at the time, “I tried to speak to Mrs. Slater, but got no answer. Enough is enough. It is the Greens who have completely crushed a conservation project. It’s unbelievable.’
A government spokesman said: ‘She (Mrs Slater) will be traveling with members of the Isle of Rum Community Trust, as well as staff from NatureScot and the Scottish Government, on a charter from Western Isles Cruises.
“This will maximize time on the island and support a small local business.”
Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie said, “Lorna Slater has been in office less than two years, but she’s already acting like she was born to rule.”
A Scottish Labor spokesperson said: ‘This is stunning hypocrisy on the part of Lorna Slater. Scotland deserves better.’
Ms Slater declined to comment.