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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Final touches to Holyrood plans
Scottish Parliament
The new parliament will be centre of attention on Saturday
Security checks, turf laying and cleaning are being carried out at the new Scottish Parliament in preparation for its official opening.

The Queen will officially open the 431m parliament on Saturday.

However, there is still work to be done, particularly to landscaping outside the Edinburgh building.

The parliament's Presiding Officer George Reid said he was confident everything would be in place for a "splendid day".

Landscapers were at the new building before sunrise on Friday to finish off cosmetic jobs.

MSPs and any non-essential staff will clear out after a half day of business on Friday to allow the cleaners and builders to take over.

Once the gardening and cleaning is finished the red carpet will be rolled out ready for the Queen.

The building will grow out of the land of Scotland, the great the sea of green as Enric Miralles intended
George Reid
Presiding Officer
Mr Reid said: "Tomorrow is a day of renewal it is a day of looking to the future, it is a day for Scots, in the words of Donald Dewar, who we are and how we stand in the world.

"I think we have gone through a process, Lord Fraser reported on the undoubted failure of public procurement which went into Holyrood, that is now behind us, and now we concentrate on what we do well, not building a building, but building a rather better Scotland.

"The building has been ready at least for the past month, but with a bit of titivation outside I believe we will be ready. The building will grow out of the land of Scotland, the great the sea of green as Enric Miralles intended."

Chocolate cake

On Friday, the parliament will take delivery of a giant chocolate cake.

Staff at Plaisir du Chocolat will put the finishing touches to the mammoth cake before delivering it to Mr Reid in the MSPs' dining room.

The cake - which weighs almost 250 kilos, about 1,500 times the average weight of a slice of chocolate cake - will be enjoyed by celebrities, schoolchildren and community groups at the official opening.

The Queen addresses the Scottish Parliament in 2002
The Queen spoke to the temporary parliament in 2002
Among those attending the ceremony will be Sir Sean Connery and former First Minister Henry McLeish.

Entertainment will be from a wide range of Scottish musicians, including BBC Young Musician of the Year 2004 violinist Nicola Benedetti and singer Eddi Reader.

But ordinary people will also be included with 1,000 schoolchildren, community groups and representatives of civic society marching along the Royal Mile in the traditional 'Riding' from Parliament Square to the opening at Holyrood.

The official opening ceremony will then take place with a speech from the Queen in the main chamber at Holyrood.

First Minister Jack McConnell and opposition leaders Nicola Sturgeon and David McLetchie are also expected to make speeches.


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