PARLIAMENT was suspended for slightly more than half an hour before the Scottish Budget was delivered key details were leaked to the BBC

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone announced she was pausing proceedings on Thursday just seconds before acting Finance Secretary John Swinney was to take to his feet to set out the Government's spending plans for the year ahead.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser earlier raised concerns in a point of order at the end of First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, telling the chamber BBC Scotland was reporting specific details of the financial update less than two hours ahead of it being formally announced.

He called on the Presiding Officer to investigate the matter, while his Conservative colleague Stephen Kerr called on the First Minister and Swinney to apologise to MSPs for the leak.

Speaking just before Swinney was due to speak, Johnstone said she would suspend parliament for thirty minutes to investigate whether material had been handed to the broadcaster. 

When business was resumed, Johnstone said she could not "express strongly enough my disappointment at information about this afternoon’s statement appearing in the media before being given to the Parliament". 

She added that both Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon had claimed they had not leaked the information. 

Before announcing the Budget, Swinney told MSPs: "I give you my categorical assurance as a member of this Parliament since its foundation in 1999 that no individual was authorised on my behalf to disclose any information.

“I unreservedly apologise to you for the situation you find yourself, Presiding Officer, in protecting the integrity of Parliament.”

The BBC reported during First Minister’s Questions in a live blog on the Scottish Budget that income tax rates were set to rise from 41p to 42p in the pound and that the top rate would increase from 46p to 47p.

BBC Scotland said on Twitter the tax details of the Budget were leaked to the corporation. 

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon scolds Tories over poverty questions reaction at FMQs

Fraser told Johnstone: “You have in the past as Presiding Officer been very clear that it is a matter of courtesy to the chamber that major government announcements are made firstly to this chamber and not to the media.

“We are expecting at 2.25pm a Budget statement from the Deputy First Minister to this chamber. However, currently the BBC Scotland website are reporting in detail tax changes that will be brought forward in that Budget statement, including increasing the higher rate of tax from 41p to 42p and increasing the additional rate from 46p to 47p and reducing the tax threshold for the top rate from £150,000 to £125,000.

“I’m sure you would share my concern and dismay that this has been communicated to the media, apparently, rather than firstly to the chamber.

“Will you therefore instigate an immediate investigation into the source of this leak to the BBC and ensure that proper courtesy is shown to the members of this chamber by the Government?”

Johnstone replied the MSP was “quite right” she had previously urged ministers to inform parliament of major policy updates before speaking to the media.

READ MORE: East Lothian 'winter wonderland' branded an 'absolute shambles'

She added: “I have not yet had the opportunity to examine the circumstances Mr Fraser describes and I will report to the chamber in due course.”

Labour MSP Neil Bibby also demanded an investigation into the leak. 

Kerr said the matter was about "respect" to the Scottish Parliament. 

It is not known whether the BBC's reporting is accurate.