Highland Tory MSP Donald Cameron yesterday gave his support to Western Isles proposal to teach youngsters in Gaelic after a frontbench colleague criticised the plan.
Mr Cameron appeared at odds with Shadow Education Secretary Liz Smith after she described the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar council’s proposal to make Gaelic the main teaching language as a “deeply troubling step”.
Opposition politicians called on Ms Smith to apologise after she argued Gaelic should not be promoted at the expense of English.
Yesterday, Mr Cameron, the son of the Cameron clan chief, said: “Personally, I support the decision of the Comhairle to change the default position to Gaelic at P1, not least because parents can still opt out and choose English medium education for their children if they so wish.
“Bilingualism is plainly beneficial. We are all aware of the mistakes of the last century, where one language was promoted at the total exclusion of the other.”
He added: “As the vice-convenor of the cross-party group on Gaelic, I’ve frequently argued for the need to depoliticise the language, given the ongoing threat to the very existence of Gaelic itself.”
Yesterday Ms Smith said she stood by her remarks.
She added: “I think this is all down to teaching resources and there has been a lot of problems with finding Gaelic medium teachers.
“That’s my big concern about this. It has got to be properly resourced.”