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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 17:06 GMT
Probe continues on Holyrood beam
Parliament staff examine the loose beam
The beam was lowered to the ground on Thursday evening
Engineers are not yet sure what caused a 12ft-long beam to break free from the ceiling of the Scottish Parliament.

MSPs had to evacuate the debating chamber on Thursday after the oak beam slipped out its mountings.

The Health and Safety Executive, the construction manager, the structural engineer and the chamber's contractor carried out an inspection on Friday.

A parliament spokesman said the aim was for normal business to resume in the chamber on Wednesday.

He said he was unable to comment on reports that parliament bosses fear MSPs could have to meet in a different venue next week.

He said contingency plans were being looked at, but would not comment on suggestions that proposals for meeting at the Hub at the top of the Royal Mile, or in Edinburgh City Chambers, were being examined.

'One-off incident'

In the meantime, health and safety officers have sealed off the chamber.

Engineers from construction manager Bovis, building firm Laing O'Rourke and structural engineers Ove Arup have all been trying to establish exactly what happened.

John Spencely, who conducted the first inquiry into the parliament, said he was convinced it was a one-off incident.

He said: "It's very unfortunate, but the roof itself has not fallen down, the beam itself has not broken.

"Something has happened to relieve the pressure on it so that it slipped out of its housing. I don't know why.

You could operate out of a chicken shed if you wanted to provided you had something between your ears
Margo MacDonald MSP

"But there has been no progressive collapse, nobody was hurt."

The Independent MSP Margo MacDonald, a long-time a critic of the Holyrood project, said she hoped it would not mark a set back for the parliamentary process.

She said: "I hope that the folk that are paying for it and looking to the parliament as an institution to do things, don't confuse the fact a beam fell down with the ability of the people working there to deliver a decent system of governance for Scotland

"You could operate out of a chicken shed if you wanted to provided you had something between your ears."

Members of the public who have booked tours will still be able to visit other parts of the building.


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