It has emerged that former Labour high flyer and disgraced council leader Stephen Purcell will face no criminal charges after being investigated by Strathclyde police over alleged cocaine use.

Although the police authority have yet to make an official announcement it is believed that they felt there was insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution.

Stephen Purcell is the former leader of Labour run Glasgow council and had been tipped as a future leader of the Holyrood Labour party.  He resigned in March this year after rumours began to spread about his lifestyle and suggestions of links to city gangsters led to fears that the Labour politician was being blackmailed.

Mr Purcell then fled the country and news that he had been a user of cocaine emerged shortly afterwards, his whereabouts remained a secret for months until he re-emerged recently in Ireland.

In 2009 Mr Purcell had been visited by officers from the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency in his council chambers where he confessed to having used cocaine.  The council leader was then warned of the existence of a video that allegedly showed him snorting the banned substance.  Fellow Labour councillors have admitted to having known about the SCDEA visit.

According to independent news magazine ‘The Digger’ the police were originally made aware of the video when a former officer, now serving a sentence for drug dealing, revealed its existence in a meeting with the Serious Organised Crime Agency.  The former officer claimed that Stephen Purcell had been blackmailed into giving out business contracts.

A demand by the SNP group at Glasgow Council for a full investigation into council contracts was blocked by a joint Labour/Lib Dem alliance who voted the move down.

Claims that senior Labour party officials knew about rumours regarding Mr Purcell’s lifestyle fully two years before the scandal broke were raised in the House of Commons.  It was alleged that the Mr Purcell had been the subject of a Downing Street conference call at around that time.  However despite then Labour PM Gordon Brown promising to investigate the claims no investigation was ever carried out.

Mr Purcell continues to have strong links with the Labour party in Scotland and one Labour MP John Robertson, who represents Glasgow North West, recently announced that Mr Purcell would be carrying out some work on his behalf.

Friends of Mr Purcell have said that the he is relieved that the matter will now be closed.

It's believed the decision not to prosecute Mr Purcell has already been conveyed to Scotland's Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill.



# Holebender 2010-06-27 12:29
It is the only legal option. Unless someone can produce a sample of what Mr. Purcell ingested and submit it to chemical analysis there is no way to prove he has ever been anywhere near cocaine. He may believe he took cocaine, but there is no way to know without analysing the powder.
# Vakov2000 2010-06-27 12:35
I would have been useful to have investigated the allegations of wide spread corruption surrounding Purcell, Labour and Glasgow City Council. If only Labour and the Lib Dems hadn't blocked it.
# brusque 2010-06-27 12:48
I had no interest in Purcell's Cocaine use, what I wanted to see was an investigation into the blatant corruption at Glasgow City Council, much (if not all) of which was initiated by Purcell. Surely the police had enough information to at least initiate further investigation; assuming there was the will to do it!!!
# Clare 2010-06-27 23:25
Brusque, I can't believe the Scottish Government cannot call in the books. That any potentially corrupt Council can BLOCK attempts to investigate its finances following seriously worrying allegations is shocking.
# mato21 2010-06-27 13:50
Brusque obviously there was no will a bit like the expenses scandal don't you think.How many of those charlatans should have been facing charges,many more than the few who are.
# brusque 2010-06-27 14:10
Quoting mato21:
Brusque obviously there was no will a bit like the expenses scandal don't you think.How many of those charlatans should have been facing charges,many more than the few who are.

It's pretty shocking to realise that a Police Force does not have the will to investigate and prosecute people who have actually admitted to criminal activity, never mind that there is clearly evidence of corruption in GCC. I despair sometimes.
# enneffess 2010-06-27 16:28
The reason they will not prosecute is that a confession is normally insufficient. Please do not try and imply that somehow the police are in hock with GCC.

Purcell's alleged cocaine use is legally separate from the issues at GCC. However, if you think there is illegal activity then report it to the police. Ask yourself why senior figures of the SNP haven't.
# JRTomlin 2010-06-27 17:29
That's silly. Why do you say things like that?

Without brusque having personal knowledge it would be useless to go to the police, however much one is convinced that there is corruption in the GCC. And for that matter do you know that senior figures of the SNP haven't?
# enneffess 2010-06-27 19:41
If you read his post he clearly states "a Police Force does not have the will". I do not like the implication.

And you do not necessarily require personal knowledge of an offence to inform the police. Look at the recent activity of the cep and the ABE tshirts at HMW. The police are duty bound to investigate any allegations. That I know for an absolute fact since I know quite a few of them.

As to the second point about senior SNP figures; no I don't know.

I'm not defending GCC for one second. All it requires is for Audit Scotland to go in and investigate. And Swinney can direct them to do so.
# Clare 2010-06-27 23:32
NFS but Audit Scotland refused to get involved did they not?

I agree with you on your other point. The cocaine issue is one where hard evidence is required.

But I also believe the Police - at very senior levels - have lately been indulging in politics themselves by making public announcements designed to discredit the Scottish Government. There are over a thousand more police officers in post now, yes? Yet only a couple of weeks back one senior Police Chief was on the Scottish News claiming that "cuts" will mean Police will need to ease up on policing the "better" areas in order to focus on areas where there is usually trouble. He actually said that. He was breaching the Police code by doing this in my view. And clearly playing politics and attempting to scaremonger. If police numbers have been increased why was he saying he would be cutting back?
# enneffess 2010-06-28 19:34
I don't think Audit Scotland can refuse point blank. However, they may feel that it wouldn't achieve anything. (I carry out non-financial audits, but the principles are the same).
# JRTomlin 2010-06-28 00:26
With no evidence, they are certainly not going to take any accusation seriously. They shouldn't for that matter. No police force has the capacity to investigate every allegation, too many are spurious.

There are indications of the police having a political agenda. I don't know how the upper echelon of Scottish police work, but it is very common in the US for these to become politicized. There is no point in saying this could never happen. Of course, it can.
# eye_write 2010-06-28 09:00
You investigate to GET evidence....
# Teri 2010-06-27 15:11
Although Purcell has not to be prosecuted re his cocaine use, I have seen nothing to suggest that investigations of corruption at GCC are no longer being pursued. The last I heard was that the police were trying to locate a secret dossier of all Purcell's business transactions. Should this dossier be forthcoming then I think it could be that prosecutions would follow.
# mato21 2010-06-27 15:23
I can imagine the shredder has been working overtime
# Clare 2010-06-27 23:33
Indeedy Mato. A bit like the shredding of receipts that went on at SPT eh?
# enneffess 2010-06-28 21:05
Is that a PFI shredder? :p
# Independista 2010-06-28 00:06
Perhaps the police should read some of the accusations here! Amazing stuff.
# Mac 2010-06-28 08:52
Labour politician breaks law - escapes punishment.

How many times have we seen and heard that?
# Mac 2010-06-28 08:56
As for Glasgow City Council they are making 30% cuts to their budgets now long before anyone else has or will do, even though they get higher levels of government funding.

Where did all the money go???????

That shows the high level of financial mismanagement by Labour councillors in council chambers.

Glasgow is well on the way to becoming a failed city.

Well done, once more, the Labour party.
# eye_write 2010-06-28 09:03
They surely overspent before, corrupt as they are. Perhaps the Scot Gov. isn't forcing an investigation into GCC so long as Labour out there play ball - it would be the language they understand after all...
# Somerled 2010-06-28 12:29
Is there some sort of "Obudsman" who is supposed to look into the administration of Councils in cases like this ?
Surely a member of the public could initiate some action by reporting what he or she knows to the Ombudsman.
# enneffess 2010-06-28 19:33
Is it not the standards board (or whatever they are called!). But they are toothless and rather ineffective.
# mato21 2010-06-28 21:16
Just a pity Enneffess they couldn't get that scandal shredded along with those who had the bright idea to get the schools and hospitals built using it.PFI that is
# enneffess 2010-06-29 20:55
I did a little bit of digging, and it seems the principle of PFI can be cost effective if looked at over a period of time. But governments and councils get floored by contract negotiations.

Many years ago, I worked in contract monitoring and audit for the MoD.

At one base, 90% of the services were contracted out. One of these was the maintenance and control of a heated garage for an ambulance. If the heating failed, the contractor had to send out an engineer at an inflated cost. During one winter, he couldn't get out and advised that to reset the heating, all one had to do was press a red button. No qualifications necessary, no health and safety issues. After that little gem was discovered, it was removed from the contract saving about 10k a year. All to press a button.....

That one is a true example, since I was the person who had to press the flipping button.

And this has been going on for as long as the government has been hiring the services of private industry.
# eye_write 2010-06-29 21:17
Dunno why I'm shocked, I know fine well this goes on! But I suppose it's better that I am than than not!

If I could press a button to eliminate this blatant deliberate waste, I would. I always liked Sir John Harvey Jones' shows ;-)
# mato21 2010-06-29 21:08
Hope you hadn't to leave your warm bed too often.When you see who would be doing the bean counting it's no wonder it was a stitch up.

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