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Former Scilly MP denies scuppering ferry project

Scilly's former MP has hit back at claims that he was responsible for Department for Transport's rejection of the Route Partnership project.

The DfT had conditionally approved the multimillion-pound scheme, which would have provided government funding for a purpose-built ship to secure the sea link between Scilly and the mainland.

However, in March 2011 the project was rejected by Minister for Transport Norman Baker. Andrew was found to have written to the Minister in February to outline alternatives to the Route Partnership scheme and was widely blamed for its subsequent rejection.

In a discussion about Brexit on his Facebook page, a poster called Paul Birch wrote: "All this coming from an MP who stopped a £62 million pound link to the Scilly Isles."

Andrew responded: "Not quite. Paul, I SECURED the £64M offer to support the Scillies link. Those who tried bullying Penzance (Pz) and bizarrely threatened to run a ferry from Falmouth if they didn't get their way destroyed any chance of our succeeding. Their preposterous plan became the laughing stock of Whitehall. It was they who lost us the money.

"The Government had already made their decision not to support the project long before the Minister's final confirmation. Hence my last ditch effort to get him to change his mind and to support the project, in spite of the hopelessness of the position the project's proponents had placed our local communities in.

"While those responsible for throwing the investment opportunity away engaged in their favourite occupation - ie name calling and taking to social media to blame everyone but themselves - I nevertheless continued to fight for both the ferry-link and Penzance harbour.

I succeeded by securing a further £Multi-million package for Pz (and St Mary's) harbour. Pz TC (where you worked at the time I recollect?) came up with a brilliant alternative project (referred to as Option Pz I believe), but the same people scuppered that too!

"Those same people (no doubt to distract from the embarrassment at their guilty responsibility for sacrificing Penzance harbour's future through their behaviour) remain determined to perpetuate their fiction!

"Naturally I'm disappointed you've swallowed this nonsense. You should speak to those in the know, eg our harbour masters and people like Jon Pender who led the PzTC project but who experienced the pointlessness of trying to take on such destructive people. Disappointed you've been taken in."

However, poster Gail Sortino was not convinced, writing: "Preposterous statement. Norman Baker's decision to refuse funding was an almost carbon copy of your letter to him. You may have helped to secure funding but you were the primary reason for the project not going ahead."

#ISSC #council

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