TWO North Ayrshire MSPs have clashed over a bill that passed at Holyrood last week.

Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson said that the new ‘The Islands (Scotland) Bill' has communities like Arran at the heart of decisions. But Conservative List MSP, Jamie Greene, blasted his SNP rival and said his rival ‘led the march against voting reforms’.

The Bill was passed last Wednesday, May 30 and Transport and Islands Minister Humza Yousaf MSP called the vote “an important milestone” adding: “That is entirely fitting for our islands, which contribute so much to our culture, our landscape, our heritage, which have inspired poets, songwriters, composers, artists, and which attract visitors from near and afar.

“Scotland’s islands have contributed hugely to our past and our present, and with this bill and other measures will now have the opportunity to contribute even further to their own and our collective futures.”

Kenneth Gibson told the Herald: “This is a landmark piece of legislation, which will put the distinct needs of island communities like Arran at the heart of decision-making across the public sector.

“I am particularly pleased, having lobbied Scottish Ministers, even prior to the Bill’s initial drafting, for the inclusion of all islands, not just Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

“Key provisions of the Bill include the creation of a National Islands Plan, which will set out an agreed strategic direction, not only for the SNP Government, butfor all Scottish public authorities with an interest in improving outcomes for island communities.”

Tory MSP Jamie Greene put forward an amendment to the bill which would have allowed island communities to have their own councillor. His amendment was backed by North Ayrshire Council, but because the SNP opposed the amendment it was defeated in Holyrood.

Mr Greene said: “It’s astonishing to see the constituency MSP lead the charge against strengthening Arran’s position in North Ayrshire Council.

“My amendment had cross-party support and was backed by North Ayrshire Council. If the SNP had supported the amendment, then it would have passed into law without issue. Instead they saw the potential of having two guaranteed councillors after reform instead of one as a threat in the face of recent Tory success in North Ayrshire and voted it down.

“I really believe that we missed an opportunity to promote the interests of Arran. Mr Gibson should be putting his constituency ahead of his party.”