Commission says that tendering process for Scottish Parliament broke European rules.

The British government has been dragged into the mire surrounding the £431 million Scottish Parliament building controversy as the European Commission in Brussels announced last night that it was to take legal action against the government over the way the contracts for the project were awarded.

The government has two months in which to justify the procedures it used to select the late Enric Miralles as architect, and Bovis Lend Lease as construction manager in 1999. If it fails to satisfy the Commission, it could be summoned to appear in the European Court of Justice.

A spokesman for the Commission told The Times that: “The Commission believes this tender procedure violated EU rules on public procurement and notably did not respect the principles of equal treatment and transparency.”

Under the rules of the devolution, it is up to the Scottish Parliament, rather than the British government, to respond to the Commission. If it can answer the questions raised by the Commission, the matter will be closed. If not, the government faces an embarrassing court appearance and possible fines running into millions of pounds.