A TORY MSP dodged a question on the UK Government spending £4 billion on unusable PPE – after claiming there needed to be “more honesty, openness and transparency from the Scottish Government”.

Jamie Halcro Johnston, MSP for the Highlands and Island region, told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that yesterday’s announcement by Economy Secretary Neil Gray about further spending on a delayed ferry was “embarrassing”.

Gray told MSPs it was “extremely disappointing” that costs to the ship known as Hull 802 had increased.

After calling for more “transparency”, host Martin Geissler put it to Johnston that there should be a public inquiry into the £4bn worth of PPE bought by the UK Government which did not meet NHS standards.

The MSP replied: “I always think there should be transparency in public spending. I think that’s only right.

“But I think we’re getting slightly off the subject there.”

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Geissler then put it to Johnston that he was the one who brought up transparency in the first place.

“I think governments should be transparent and I wouldn’t stop at the Scottish Government. I think all governments should be transparent.

“The fact is we have a £330 million bill likely for these ferries. We still have no ferries; we have islanders massively impacted by the lack of ferries.

“We see businesses struggling to provide services, to provide supplies, we see real impact on islanders lives and we still don’t see any real action from the Scottish Government.”

Geissler then asked Johnston to clarify whether or not he said there should be a public inquiry into PPE.

Johnston continued: “Well, no I said I think there should be transparency within government. I don’t think calling for transparency within government spending and government contracts should be something that’s seen as unusual.”

Geissler refused to back down, once again asking if Johnston believed there should be an inquiry.

Johnston said he came on to speak about the ferries and then clashed with the presenter after Geissler told him he was going to ask about other issues and that he had not answered his question.

“I’ve given the answer. I think there should be transparency within public spending”, Johnston said.