Bill Armstrong, during his second day of evidence to the Fraser Inquiry, made the following serious assertions:
"I believed it was entirely wrong."
"Under the procurement laws as I understand it and the Scottish Office's own building directive, once you get the four tenders and you are agreed that they are all able to do the job and you open all the tenders, then you are duty bound to take the lowest tender."
Asked by counsel for the inquiry, John Campbell QC, if he was concerned about the legality of the move, Mr Armstrong said: "Yes I was concerned that here we were all reputable professionals and we had gone down a route which I felt was now being compromised. I believed it was entirely wrong."
There have been so many revelations during this inquiry that my darkest suspicions appear to be in process of being confirmed, far more closely than I could have imagined. However, I think it is appropriate that I cease further commentary until Lord Fraser issues his final report, probably in the very early part of next year. I understand his report will be passed to the First Minister, Jack McConnell, and it is to be hoped that he in turn will publish it in full as he, I think, undertook to do at the time the inquiry was launched. It is unlikely to make for happy reading, I fear.