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Dewar accused by SNP over Holyrood

Former Scottish first minister Donald Dewar 'foisted' the site for the new home of Scottish democracy on colleagues in a matter of three weeks despite the nation's 300-year wait for a parliament, a Scottish MP said this week.

Fergus Ewing MSP, speaking at the end of the second week of the Fraser inquiry into the catastrophically costly Holyrood building, said: 'It's now becoming clear the late Donald Dewar decided on his own initiative, in some cases hastily and ignoring advice to the contrary.

'He foisted his choice of site on the Scottish parliament, ' continued the Scottish National Party politician.

'We have waited 300 years for the parliament to reconvene.

Why did we need to make a decision within three weeks?

It seems clear the late first minister and the Labour government took the decision and it was either wrong or seriously questionable.'

The Scottish political establishment had been shown to be 'incompetent and inept', said Ewing, who has been following the inquiry with mounting alarm. 'And at the top of the establishment pyramid is the Labour government, ' he added.

Lord Fraser QC is looking at how costs for the design by Enric Miralles and RMJM spiralled from £40 million at the outset to the present figure of £401 million (AJ 6.11.03).

The inquiry resumed yesterday (Wednesday) with a former lord provost and council chiefs scheduled to appear as witnesses.

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