SNP MSP John Mason questions if Skye is '˜a real island'

An MSP has questioned whether Skye is a 'real island' since a bridge connects it to the mainland.

The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye. Picture: Jane Barlow
The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye. Picture: Jane Barlow

The SNP’s John Mason raised the query at a Holyrood committee examining a proposed law on island communities.

The Shettleston MSP questioned whether Skye should be included in the legislation, since he claimed it does not have the transport problems of “real islands”.

Speaking at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, he said: “Was it unanimous that something like Skye should be included because it says that bridges are ignored and yet surely Skye doesn’t have the problems of ferries, transport that real islands do?”

SNP MSP John Mason. Picture: PA

Committee convener Edward Mountain replied: “I’m sure, as we’ll all agree, that Skye is a real island”.

Darren Dickson from the Islands Bill team confirmed that Skye is included on the list of inhabited islands covered by the bill.

He said: “It is quite surprising because we’ve actually had it asked of us three times whether Skye is covered by the bill - people obviously aren’t reading the explanatory notes very clearly because it’s quite clearly stated in the explanatory notes Skye is included.”

He added: “Skye is definitely on that list.”

SNP MSP John Mason. Picture: PA

The Islands Bill plans to island-proof future legislation and policies and create a national islands plan.

Following the meeting, Skye MSP Kate Forbes said: “I am sure that John knows that Skye is a real island, just as Glasgow is a real city. I certainly cross water to get there. Otherwise we would have to rewrite the Skye Boat Song.

“Ferry and transport problems are the tip of the iceberg, and there is a huge amount of work to do on the roads infrastructure for tourism, not to mention affordable housing and connectivity.

“That’s why I’m so pleased the Scottish Government is bringing forward the Islands Bill, as it will make a huge difference to places like Skye.”