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MSPs to quiz board chairwoman on Glasgow School of Art fire

Muriel Gray is due to give evidence to Holyrood’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee next month.

The chairwoman of the Glasgow School of Art board will face questions from MSPs on the latest fire to engulf the famed Mackintosh Building.

The historic building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh was hit by another devastating fire in June this year as reconstruction following an earlier blaze in 2014 neared completion.

Holyrood’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee has been taking evidence on the circumstances surrounding the fire and has announced it plans to question board chairwoman Muriel Gray.

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Firefighters at the historic Mackintosh Building in Glasgow battle the blaze (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She is due to give evidence on November 15 along with other witnesses yet to be confirmed.

The committee will also hear from the company behind the reconstruction.

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland, will give evidence on October 25 along with David Page, director of Page\Park Architects, and David Paton who is head of design review at the architect firm.

Committee members agreed to call management figures from the art school to give evidence following a meeting last month where they heard claims of systemic management failures on fire risk.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh scholar Roger Billcliffe told the MSPs the building was a “fire trap waiting to happen” due to its construction including air vents which acted as chimneys and warned a further blaze would occur if the building is rebuilt.

He said: “The staff are still there that were responsible for it. I don’t want to send them to prison but I want to make sure that they don’t operate a system where they can do it again.”

The MSPs also heard from former senior employee at the art school, Eileen Reid, who questioned why an immediate investigation into fire risk management was not carried out after it “failed” in 2014 fire, adding: “I do think it was systemic.”

A spokeswoman for the art school said: “We welcome the opportunity to participate in the parliamentary process.”

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