Journalists reject bar half measure

Journalists have been banned from the only bar and restaurant in the controversial new £430m Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood in Edinburgh.

The journalists, mainly members of the Scottish Political Journalists Asssociation, will instead have to seek a refreshing drink in none too convenient watering holes some distance from the Parliament and its precincts.

The decision gives the Parliament’s 129 MSPs the most exclusive drinking club in the UK.

No members of the Parliament’s staff will have automatic access to the bar or restaurant either.

Although the journalists were offered use of the facilities on Mondays and Fridays, when the MSPs will be away on constituency business, they refused.

Understandably, because most of the Ministers and MSPs will be absent, so will the bulk of the parliamentary journalists on these days.

The journalists were also offered the opportunity of being signed in as guests by the MSPs, but they politely declined.

As SPJA convener Campbell Gunn, who is political editor of the Sunday Post, explained: “I don’t think that most MSPs will be rushing to buy drinks for journalists, and if we cannot buy drinks under our own steam, we are happy to forego the privilege of depending on the MSPs to put their hands in their pockets.”

The building will be officially opened by the Queen on 9 October.

By Hamish Mackay

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