It started as farce but is quickly turning into something more ugly, perhaps even sinister. When Audit Scotland last week released a report shining a light on the SNP’s costly ferries fiasco, all the talk was of painted on windows and a comical ‘launch’ event for an unfinished ship. It was Carry on Up the Clyde but with a rather dull cast of characters.

This week the story has taken a different turn. Jim McColl, the Scottish billionaire who took over the shipyard at the centre of the controversy, has come out fighting. He gave an interview to the Sunday Times in which he accused Nicola Sturgeon’s administration of hastily pushing through the contract for the new boats so the deal could be announced at the party’s autumn conference in 2015.

‘The audit report has revealed we were given the contract for political purposes. Everything was about the optics and timing the announcements for political gain,’ he told the paper.

McColl said he had made it clear to the government and CMAL, the state body in charge of ship procurement, that his company could not provide the usual standard refund guarantee on the contract (such contracts are usually signed on a ‘no financial risk to the buyer’ basis). He said there was no question that the decision to overrule CMAL, which was against awarding the contract without the guarantee, was made by Nicola Sturgeon along with Derek Mackay, a now disgraced former transport minister.

Want to see more SNP fails? – Health Matters

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter and join the fightback against Scottish Nationalism.