Fiona Mandeville

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the intervention of rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing in his letter to Colin Kennedy, Crofting Commission convener.

“We are pleased that the Scottish Government has finally endorsed what we and others have been saying for months, that the actions of the Commission convener, and the decisions he appears to have forced through, have been divisive, unacceptable and not in line with crofting law,” commented SCF chair Fiona Mandeville from Skye.

While Mr Ewing’s letter is not yet in the public domain, its contents have been summarised and made public. It is clear that the Scottish Government is as concerned as the SCF and all who care about crofting. BBC’s Jackie O’Brien has seen the letter and reports that the Government’s view is diametrically opposed to Mr Kennedy’s and that it is not sustainable for the Scottish Government and one of its public bodies to take opposing interpretations of the law.

“The secretary for rural affairs has written a direct personal reprimand to the convener, who should now do the honourable thing and stand down right away,” Ms Mandeville continued.

“Commissioner Murdo Maclennan’s apparent assertion after the Commission’s recent board meeting is that the board is backing Kennedy.  Does the Crofting Commission convener agree with the board? Does the board unanimously support the convener? It is natural for a board to attempt to portray a consensus, but is this really the case?

“Fergus Ewing, in his letter as reported by the BBC, expresses his grave concern that policy decisions may be taken without a clear mandate from the Crofting Commission’s board. This suggests such concerns are also held by Scottish Government.

“Colin Kennedy must accept the reality that it is time for him to go.”