First Minister Humza Yousaf has said the £1,200 spent by minister Lorna Slater on a private boat to get to the Isle of Rum was a good use of public money.
The minister caused consternation among the opposition earlier this month after it emerged she chartered a private catamaran in favour of taking a ferry operated Government-owned CalMac – which would have cost £9.40 for a return ticket.
Slater visited the island, off the north-west coast of Scotland, last month to discuss the future of Kinloch Castle.
It came after City financier and former Tory donor Jeremy Hosking withdrew a bid for the Edwardian property, blaming an intervention from Ms Slater.
Islanders did not appear bothered by the news, with Steve Robertson of the Isle of Rum Community Trust describing it as a “storm in a teacup”.
Asked by the PA news agency on Saturday if it was a prudent use of funds, the First Minister said: “Yes, because the reason why Lorna Slater did that was so she could spend as much time as possible on the island and she met every single adult that was on the island at that time.”
He added: “We tend to get these political storms that brew every now and again.
“I think it’s really important to listen to the communities that are affected and every single islander that I’ve seen that’s commented on this have said they were really grateful for Lorna taking that amount of time that they did to speak to them and to engage with them.”