(275)  HOLYROOD INQUIRY OPENS

The Holyrood Inquiry chaired by Lord Fraser of Carmyllie (see No 259) opened on Tuesday 28 October 2003.  Counsel to the inquiry is John Campbell QC.  Amongst the early witnesses are the former Minister, Sam Galbraith, the former Scottish Office Minister Brian Wilson MP, the former First Minister Henry McLeish, and Wendy Alexander MSP, formerly an adviser to the late Donald Dewar when he was Secretary of State for Scotland.  The inquiry opened to a background of controversy as it sought to obtain from the BBC unedited tapes of interviews with Mr Dewar and the late Enrique Miralles, architect of the Parliament building, which were recorded by the Wark-Clements production company in 2000 as part of the material to be used in an eventual documentary about the execution of the project.  The BBC has refused to release the tapes on the basis of confidentiality agreements said to have been made with the participants.  Sr. Miralles’ widow has however indicated that she would be prepared to waive the confidentiality agreement, and Lord Steel of Aikwood, the former Presiding Officer who was in charge of the project once it passed into the hands of the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body, has already announced his waiver of the confidentiality.  A further layer in the controversy arises from the fact that Kirsty Wark, one of the owners of Wark-Clements and a well-known TV journalist and presenter, was a member of the committee which chose the Miralles design for the Parliament.

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