SNP MSP John Mason has questioned whether Skye is a "real island" because it has a bridge to the mainland.

The Glasgow Shettleston representative made the claim while Holyrood's rural economy committee was examining the Islands Bill.

He questioned why Skye should be included as it does not have transport issues which "real islands" do.

Responding to comments made by John Mason MSP at this morning's Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, Skye MSP Kate Forbes stated:

"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.

 

"If anything, the conversation needs to focus more on rural-proofing remote rural areas on the mainland, such as the Ardnamurchan peninsula."

Government officials confirmed that Skye was "definitely" included in the bill as an inhabited island.

MSPs are scrutinising legislation which aims to offer greater powers to island local authorities and ultimately create a sustainable future for Scotland's islands.

Darren Dickson from the Islands Bill team said the issue was "quite surprising", adding that Skye was "definitely" listed as an inhabited island.

He said: "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 that Skye is included."