A PARTY invitation has been blamed for sparking a mass evacuation of part of the Scottish Parliament.

Holyrood’s MSP office block was cleared of politicians and staff after four Scottish Conservative parliamentarians received suspicious packages containing white powder.

Firefighters and police rushed to the scene, but it was later claimed the mysterious substance was simply part of a party invitation.


A Tory spokesman confirmed the offending envelope was from the Inverness Courier, inviting MSPs to its 200th birthday.

The Inverness Courier declined to comment.

A spokesman for the Scottish Parliament said there were “no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident and no crime was committed”.

He added: “While all of the packages turned out to be entirely benign, raising the alarm was entirely the right thing to do.”

READ MORE: Holyrood returns to normal after three Tory MSPs receive suspicious packages

Evacuation procedures kicked in after an assistant to Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston opened a letter sent to his office.

White “powder” fell out onto his hands and the authorities were immediately alerted.

Sir Edward Mountain, Liz Smith and Donald Cameron also received the envelopes.


MSPs and staff were quickly evacuated to Holyrood’s garden lobby, where emergency crews could be seen outside the MSPs block donning protective gloves.

Ms Smith praised the response of parliamentary staff, adding: “The first I heard about this was from the news.

“I think the parliament has reacted very well. Emergency services reacted very quickly.”

READ MORE: Holyrood returns to normal after three Tory MSPs receive suspicious packages

Once the all-clear was given, parliamentary business, tours and events continued in the afternoon as normal.

It is still unclear whether the powder was simply frosting contained on the invitation card or another substance.

The Inverness Courier celebrates its 200th anniversary on December 4.

Tories said the assistant who opened the envelope had been sent home for the day, but was otherwise unhurt.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "Police in Edinburgh responded to the Scottish Parliament at around 11.35 a.m following the discovery of a suspicious package.”