An architectual expert advised the MSPs in charge of the £401m Scottish parliament building to halt construction and freeze all the contracts in 2000, the Fraser inquiry heard this week.
John Spencely urged the MSPs to pause the scheme for at least eight weeks to sort out the managerial and administrative problems that had built up since the start of scheme in 1998. He said: "In my view it was absolutely essential – but it was not done."

Spencely said the MSPs continued with the scheme due to the "political imperative" of getting it completed in time for the Scottish elections in 2003.

The inquiry also heard from Paul Curran, a project manager who joined the project in January 1999. He said Lord Steel, then the parliament's presiding officer, was given the opportunity to cap the consultants' fees in late 1999 when it first became apparent that costs were escalating.