15 Mar 2010

Following a series of extremely serious allegations reported in the media since Steven Purcell resigned from the leadership of Glasgow City Council on 2 March, Scottish National Party MP for Glasgow East , John Mason, today (Monday) formally referred the matter to Strathclyde Police.

Mr Mason wrote to Chief Constable Stephen House, following reports this weekend alleging that individuals and organisations have benefited from the Glasgow City Council external construction body City Building.

Key newspaper reports are:

* “The Sunday Times has learnt that Purcell revealed to friends and colleagues last Saturday that he was a user of cocaine. At his home in the west end of Glasgow, it was alleged that on a three-day trip to London on council business last month he used the drug several times.” (Sunday Times, 7 March).

* “Mr Purcell, once seen as the rising star of Scottish Labour, told four colleagues he had previously used the Class A drug after police officers spoke to him about a criminal inquiry. Two officers from the Serious Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) spoke to Mr Purcell in his office at Glasgow City Chambers on May 12 after his name came up during an investigation into a major drug dealer. Although Mr Purcell was not interviewed as a suspect or accused of a crime, the police warned him that he was making himself vulnerable to blackmail.” (Sunday Herald, 7 March).

* “An investigation into one of Purcell’s initiatives – a construction quango called City Building – found that the wage bill for senior employees doubled in just two years. Some of those who benefited were Labour members closely allied to the former leader. The same quango also spent thousands of pounds on hospitality, including paying £2,000 for a table at a Labour party fundraiser where, among several Labour figures, it entertained Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray.” (Scotland on Sunday, 14 March).

Commenting, John Mason said:

“We have had a series of extremely serious allegations in the media over the past two weeks, including new reports over the weekend, and people in Glasgow deserve to have all of these issues properly investigated.

“This is no longer about the personal tragedy of Steven Purcell, or even how recent events are impacting on the running of the city. The issues reported in the media go well beyond that, which is why I am now referring the matter to Strathclyde Police.”