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Friday, June 18, 1999 Published at 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK

UK Politics

Scots date for 007

Sean Connery: Attacked the media during last visit

The Scottish National Party's best-known supporter, Sean Connery, has been invited to attend next month's official opening of the Scottish Parliament.

Connery, who was born in Edinburgh, is likely to be the highest profile celebrity at the historic occasion on 1 July if he accepts.

The full list of guests will be disclosed next week, but a Scottish Parliament source has confirmed that Connery has been asked.

The star will not be taking part in the centrepiece procession up the Royal Mile to the Mound, which is reserved for parliamentarians and leaders of civic Scotland.

Foreign homes

The Queen will be opening the parliament and it then takes up its full powers. A day of celebration will mark the event in Edinburgh.

The former James Bond, who in recent years has lived mainly abroad at homes in Spain and the Caribbean, was in Scotland weeks ago to add his weight to the SNP's Scottish Parliament election campaign.

In 1997 government ministers, including Scotland's First Minister Donald Dewar, were said to have been behind a decision to turn him down for a knighthood.

The move was widely seen as a snub linked to Connery's support for nationalism.

He attended an SNP election rally at which he strongly criticised the way he had been treated by the Scottish media.

Connery complained about his portrayal as a tax exile who had not contributed to Scotland's economy, yet was pressing for independence.

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