Sir Robert McAlpine starts £4.3m claim against Scottish Parliament

Contractor Sir Robert McAlpine began its £4.3m claim against the Scottish Parliament for failing to award it the £430m Holyrood job.

The commercial action began at the Edinburgh Court of Session yesterday. McAlpine claims the project breached European regulations. The case is contested by the parliamentary body.

McAlpine argued that the "sole criterion" for the award of the contract was bound to be the lowest price. The firm said in its summons: "The defender (the corporate body) was bound in the circumstances to accept the lowest tender. The pursuer (McAlpine Construction Management) was the lowest price tenderer."

The firm claims that the winning construction manager Bovis Lend Lease was permitted to alter an aspect of the financial basis on which it submitted its bid and that that opportunity was not given to its rival, including McAlpine.

The corporate body denies that McAlpine has a valid claim for loss of profit and maintains that the action has been brought too late.

After a brief court appearance Judge Lord Clarke allowed both sides in the case to adjust their pleadings and continued a preliminary hearing until 23 March.