SCOTLAND will get a parliament with open doors and open procedures where all political views will have their due weight, Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar pledged yesterday.

He said all parts of the parliament building will be accessible to Scotland's people and its facilities will reflect the new proportional voting system.

Mr Dewar added that the public gallery in the chamber of the new parliament would hold about 200 people and the public would be able to sit in on meetings of its committees. The way the building was designed would ensure that all areas of it were easy to enter by people with disabilities.

He told a conference at Edinburgh University that one of the most interesting aspects was the shape of the parliament's chamber and how this would influence the politics of the new legislature.

He believed it should not follow the confrontational model of the House of Commons with Government and Opposition ''two swords' length apart.'' This generated a great deal of heat as well as light and reflected the first-past- the-post voting system.

The Scottish parliament would be elected by a proportional system, so he believed the debating chamber should be horseshoe- shaped.

''We have always said the Scottish parliament will be marked by a new kind of politics where constructive debate as well as proper party rivalry will be important,'' said Mr Dewar. Labour's proposals for a parliament in Edinburgh would give the Scottish people their say and it would be ''a real say'' over health, education and many other areas.

''They will get a parliament with open doors and open procedures in which their views whatever their political beliefs and wherever they live will have their due weight,'' Mr Dewar promised.

Accessibility was not just about the building itself. Modern technology could let people follow the activities of the parliament, wherever they were in Scotland. They also wanted to make the parliament a comfortable place to be and planned to ensure its amentities were up to scratch.

A restaurant/cafeteria would be provided for everybody who worked in or visited the parliament. The building would also have a bar - one bar only which would be open to MSPs and their guests.

The horseshoe-shaped arrangements in the chamber would be more than symbolic and the voting system to be used with its top- up of additional members should ensure that no minority in Scotland, whether geographical or political, failed to get the representation it deserved. It should also help to ensure the fairer representation of women, people from ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities.

There was a lot of talent out there, said Mr Dewar, and they wanted to ensure the Scottish parliament profited from it. ''How the parliament organises itself, how it is accommodated and how it works, impact on these issues and we are making every effort to provide the framework that will really enable the Scottish parliament to be a parliament for all the people of Scotland,'' he told the BT-sponsored 1997 conference of the Centre for Research into Elections and Social Trends.

There was a paramount duty on parties to ensure that there was effective representation equipped to take advantage of the new opportunities. He wanted to engage a wider audience in the debate about the physical structure of the parliament, and he praised The Herald's initiative in inviting readers to send in their comments.

''I look forward to other such initiatives that take these issues beyond the experts and closer to the people of Scotland,'' said Mr Dewar.

He had already issued invitations last week to all four main political parties in Scotland, the Scottish Constitutional Convention and Cosla to take part in the Consultative Steering Group on the parliament's procedures, which would probably have 10 to 12 members. ''Your input and participation into this process - the consultative group will want to take evidence from as wide a field as possible - will be vital.''

They would aim to present the parliament with draft standing orders, but what it did with them would be for it to decide. ''But I am confident that we can between us at least make a very good start on developing new politics for the new millennium.''

Mr Dewar said the question of accessibility had been one of the main reasons for the Government having to rule out the old Royal High School as the main debating chamber for the new parliament. This did not mean the building could not still be part of a parliamentary complex if Calton Hill was chosen as the site for the new legislature.

From his remarks, it was clear that the Government had found it a much tougher task than expected to produce the necesary legislation to get the parliament up and running.

The Scottish Secretary stressed that the workload involved in drafting the devolution Bill had been high and painstaking at times. An enormous amount of work was going into preparing it and they were determined to do justice to the high standards of the White Paper.

There were difficult considerations, such as the timing of the elections for a Scottish parliament and the relationship with the budget. What about the right to vary a Scottish tax rate inside a year and if that power was not available would it prejudice an incoming administration inheriting an unwelcome decision by a predecessor in office?

There was also a problem of how to deal with the situation when exercise of legislative power in a devolved area impacted specifically and materially on reserved powers. He also referred to the position of independents and said it might be possible for individuals to stand in such a capacity for the parliament without having to register as part of a party.

Answering claims that the devolution timetable was slipping, Mr Dewar agreed that the Bill might not be ready ''until the turn of the year'' and acknowledged that the timescale was ''very tight indeed.'' But he insisted that it was the end of the process which was important and that was still on schedule.

The Bill should receive Royal Assent next summer or in the autumn. There would then be elections in the first half of 1999 with ''D-day'', as they were beginning to call the date when the Scottish parliament would assume full powers, being early in the year 2000.