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Holyrood Euro writ

Sir Robert McAlpine cites European rule breach in Scottish Parliament tender as it launches claim

SIR ROBERT McAlpine has launched a £4.31 million writ against the Scottish Parliament over alleged breaches of European procurement rules when it awarded the construction management contract on Holyrood.

Sir Robert McAlpine lost out on the job, along with Laing and HBG, when Bovis Lend Lease was awarded the contract in 1999.

Sir Robert said in a statement that the legal action was over 'alleged breaches of European procurement procedures' It said: 'The company has taken this action after requests for a meeting failed to produce a meaningful response and therefore, due to legal time constraints, the company has been left with no alternative.'

A spokesman for the Scottish Parliament said: 'Sir Robert McAlpine is claiming for the sum of £4.31 million, a substantial sum that would have to be found from the public purse if this action is pursued and is successful.'

The procurement process for Holyrood was managed by the Scottish Office, with a formal EU procurement notice posted in 1998.

At the heart of the legal row is what happened in late 1998 and early 1999, when Bovis won the contract to manage the construction of Holyrood.

The £431 million building was opened by the Queen in October 2004 - three years late and at 10 times the original estimated cost.

The Fraser Inquiry into the fiasco heard that, out of the four construction management tenders, Bovis put in the most expensive at £6.27 million and Sir Robert McAlpine the lowest at £4.846 million.

Bovis was eliminated at the time but was later put back in the running by civil servant Barbara Doig and went on to win.

The Fraser Inquiry heard that McAlpine requested a 'debrief '' after the selection process but received no satisfactory response.Lord Fraser said Ms Doig was unable to give the inquiry any satisfactory reason for readmitting Bovis.