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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
Connery blames PM for Holyrood cost
Sir Sean at the opening of the Scottish Parliament
Sir Sean at the opening of the Scottish Parliament
The film star and Scottish National Party supporter, Sir Sean Connery, has blamed the prime minister for the spiralling cost of the new parliament building at Holyrood.

He said the fault lay with Donald Dewar and the Labour Party in London, who "opted for the obscure and unpopular" site early in 1998.

Writing in the Scottish Sun, Sir Sean insists that the former Royal High School on Calton Hill in Edinburgh should have been chosen for the new parliament.

The First Minister, Jack McConnell, has ordered an investigation into the cost, which is now 375m but may increase before the building is finished.

The Bond legend writes: "Instead of allowing the new Scots Parliament and the people to decide their own home, they presented Scotland with a fait accompli 18 months before the parliament was even elected.

"It was a botched decision of the first order, which squandered a massive amount of goodwill for the parliament."

Tory criticism

The actor was recruited by the late First Minister Donald Dewar to campaign for the devolution referendum of 1997.

He goes on: "There's no way the Scots Parliament should be held accountable for other people's blunders."

Tony Blair's appointment of Lord Falconer as Scotland's "constitutional overlord" is also criticised by Sir Sean.

The Conservatives said Sir Sean's comments reflected the "begging bowl mentality" of the SNP.

"At the first hint of a problem, they rush cap in hand to London demanding that the UK Government, funded by Scots, English, Welsh and Northern Irish taxpayers pick up the tab," their finance spokesman Brian Monteith said.

He added that it was the SNP which voted two years ago to remove the 195m Holyrood cap, and the nationalists also sat on the Holyrood progress group.

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09 Mar 03  |  Scotland

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