SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson Angus MacNeil MP has warned that UK Government cuts to emergency towing vessels will put lives at risk after a Dutch ship ran aground on North Uist on Monday night, just days after the UK Government had withdrawn tugboat services from the Hebrides.

MV Flintspirit, which was carrying a cargo of steel and wood, ran aground late last night and, after refloating several hours later, was escorted to Stornoway by the Barra and Stornoway Lifeboats.

The SNP has welcomed a new group of academics and cultural specialists championing the introduction of Scottish Studies in Scottish schools.

The group, comprising academics, novelists and former teachers, is supporting the integration of Scottish Studies into the curriculum.

Convener of the group, Professor Murray Pittock, vice-principal and head of the college of arts at the University of Glasgow, said: “All of us are very excited at the prospect of supporting projects that we believe will fire the imagination of our young people in the history, art, sculpture, languages, literature, music and cultures of their country, including resources that explain and explore Scottish studies in a more localised context.”

The group will work closely with government agency Education Scotland to produce a range of initiatives and materials for pupils. The group is also backing further steps towards incorporating elements of Gaelic and Scots into early years teaching and will support the work of the Burns Federation in laying emphasis on the works of Robert Burns in schools.

Clare Adamson, SNP MSP for Central Scotland and member of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee, said:

“This group recognise the importance of Scottish Studies, saying it is ‘hugely significant’.

“This non-political and non-partisan group shares the same view with the SNP Government that learning about our country and its rich heritage, as well as understanding our place in the world, is extremely important.

“We are working hard to strengthen the presence of Scottish history, literature, language and culture in the curriculum.

“Learning about Scotland should be a natural and normal part of learning for all our young people and recent research shows 90 per cent of people in Scotland agree.”

Organisers of TweedLove Bike Festival, in association with Alpine Bikes, have unveiled what they believe to be the biggest and most comprehensive programme of events ever seen at a UK cycling festival. 

Attracting riders from throughout the UK, the extended 2012 programme of both free and paid events will be staged across the cycle friendly Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders from Saturday 26 May to Tuesday 5 June 2012.

National Collective has welcomed the support of its first Creative Ambassador, vintage pop singer Lou Hickey, who in 2010 was Glamour magazine’s “One to Watch” and Scotland on Sunday’s “Most Eligible Woman”.

Since her work with Jon Fratelli in the critically acclaimed Codeine Velvet Club, Lou has just finished her first solo album which is due for release later this year.

The SNP have today welcomed Councillor Shaukat Butt leaving the Labour Party which results in the Labour group losing their majority in Glasgow City Chambers, less than two months before the local authority elections.

Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said this was further evidence that the council elections on May 3rd present a great opportunity for the people of Glasgow to move their city forward.