SNP Councillor Billy McAllister has called for an investigation into decisions taken by the former leader of Glasgow City Council Steven Purcell. The News of the World reported that two SCDEA officers demanded to speak to Mr Purcell last year after he was identified during surveillance of a suspected drug dealer; the Labour politician is then said to have confessed to colleagues that he had used cocaine.
Mr McAllister, a long time campaigner against organised crime in Glasgow, wants an investigation into why Mr Purcell’s Labour group repeatedly refused calls to investigate the extent and reach of organised crime in Glasgow.
Mr McAllister alleges that a senior councillor blocked attempts by Glasgow’s director of culture and leisure Bridget McConnell, wife of former First Minister Jack McConnell, to close the taxpayer-funded Chirnsyde Community centre in Milton, Glasgow after it was linked to organised crime.
In 2006 Strathclyde Police bosses were said to have been amazed at the council’s decision to continue to bankroll the centre despite a report listing 32 concerns.
Another report produced in May 2006 by Scott-Moncrieff auditors, who were asked to investigate the governance and financial stewardship of Chirnsyde Community Initiative, stated that some of the Initiative’s financial arrangements fell short of acceptable standards.
It found vehicles belonging to Chirnsyde Community Initiative had been registered in the names of a well known local gangster and that the centre’s committee had been managing the initiative in breach of the Conditions of Grant.
In his letter to Glasgow City Council chief executive George Black, Mr McAllister says:
“Given both recent revelations and developments circulating in the local and national media, note that I wish to call upon your office to instigate a full investigation and/or a public inquiry regarding recent decisions reached under the auspices of former council leader Steven Purcell.
“As you can understand, I am concerned that council decisions were made whilst Mr Purcell was allegedly under the influence of chemical substances.”
The call comes as reports in The Times allege that a senior businessman and prominent Labour party donor may have benefited financially from a series of decisions involving Purcell.