THE Alba Party’s depute leader has slammed the SNP over “failures” on the Ferguson Marine ferry deal and the ScotWind auction.

Kenny MacAskill was addressing a packed crowd alongside leader Alex Salmond, Neale Hanvey and Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh at the Alba Party conference at Hampden Park.

The East Lothian MP said the Scottish Government had failed to protect Scots, calling for change and political accountability.

Alba members at conference shared that anger, citing SNP delays on a second independence referendum and failures in capitalising on Scotland's energy resources amid a cost of living crisis.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond launches 100,000 ‘Wee Alba Books’ setting out case for Scottish independence

MacAskill said: “As well as addressing the sins of Westminster, of which there are far too many for me to name, we have to address those who are failing to deliver yet are in a position to protect us and who have to be held to account.”

He said it was Alba’s duty “for the cause of independence to hold [the SNP Scottish Government] to account and demand that change takes place".

“Let met first deal with ferries in Scotland,” he said. “The blame for this rests with Cmal [Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited] and the Scottish Government who appoint and wholly own Cmal. They are the ones who have to accept responsibility with this.”

The MP, who was elected under the SNP's banner at the last General Election, called the current situation a “disaster”, pointing to jobs relating to ferries that are going to other countries while island communities struggle to get services for days.

He said “orders for Scottish ships must stay in Scotland” to cheers from members in the crowd.

The National:

Two ferries due to be built at a Clyde yard are now four years late and the budget has swollen to around two and a half times its original price.

Later in his speech, and echoing similar comments by party leader Alex Salmond at Friday’s Wee Alba Book launch, MacAskill took aim at the Scottish Government over its energy policies.

He said the Scottish Government had failed to target support to the poorest amid a cost-of-living crisis, citing the fact that he will receive a council tax rebate to help with soaring energy costs despite his high MP salary.

The Alba depute leader said: “We have one in three people in fuel poverty which is utterly disgraceful.

“And yet the solution from the Scottish Government, when it is the fact that it is those who are poorest, those most deprived, those who are dependent on prepaid metres who are paying the most charges ... they make sure that the money is being spread as largely and as widely as possible.”

He continued: “We’ve got people who simply cannot put on their heating or power, they need more than £150 or £200 – they need significantly more and that should be addressed.

“But the real issue in Scotland is how is it that energy-rich Scotland is fuel poor?

“Just a few months back we had the great ScotWind auction,” he said, adding that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has “waxed lyrically” about the benefits of the sale.

MacAskill criticised the Scottish Government for putting a cap on the price the auction could reach. He said the £700 million sale was a “pittance” of its worth.

The National:

The ScotWind sale was controversial because many of the companies were based outside Scotland. Fears have also been raised Scottish taxpayers may have been short-changed.

MacAskill cited a sale in New York in which a “quarter” of what Scotland had on sale went for more than £4 billion.

“That isn’t just shameful,” he said. “It’s criminal.”

He then said the SNP failed to ensure that the sale will result in Scottish jobs, reading out a letter he said he had just received from Transport Minister Michael Matheson.

Asked how the Scottish Government will ensure Scottish jobs through the supply chain of the windfarms, MacAskill said Matheson had said that the component parts for the turbines will “hopefully” come from Scotland.

That was met with groans from the audience.

READ MORE: Alba conference: Alex Salmond to put spotlight on energy

The National spoke to one Alba candidate in the upcoming local elections at the conference who said the atmosphere was "buzzing" at the conference.

Yvonne Ridley said: “All the speeches so far have been inspirational. There’s a real buzz from the audience. I’ve lost count of the standing ovations there have been.

“It’s everything a political conference should be. Full of energy, full of life.

“Last year’s conference, I think we were very much feeling our way but this time there’s much more confidence.”

Ridley said the party is offering “fresh new ideas that will resonate with voters".

Organisers put the estimated attendance at 300 – and said more had been expected, but Covid-19 resulted in call-offs.