Sir Robert McAlpine has issued a writ against the Scottish parliament, claiming £4.3m in damages after it failed to win the project management contract despite allegedly tendering the lowest bid.

The contractor said it was taking legal action over “alleged breaches of European procurement procedures in connection with the award of the contract for the Scottish parliament building”.

Bovis won the contract with a tender of £6.2m after it was readmitted into the tendering process. It had been dropped because its initial budget was thought to be too high. Sir Robert McAlpine’s bid was £4.8m.

Sir Robert McAlpine served the writ after a request for a meeting with the Scottish parliament met with “no reasonable response”.

The Scottish parliament corporate body said: “Sir Robert McAlpine is claiming for the sum of £4.31m, [which] would have to be found from the public purse if this action is pursued and is successful.”