Glasgow Labour councillor denies supplying drugs


A Labour councillor has been questioned by police over allegations that she had been involved in the supply of drugs to Steven Purcell’s inner circle.

The interview is thought to be part of a Strathclyde police investigation into alleged corruption at Glasgow council.

Councillor Ruth Black voluntarily went to a police station to be interviewed as part of an investigation into claims that she was unfairly given a £50,000 council contract to run a drop-in centre because of her connection to disgraced former leader Steven Purcell.

Another similar centre run by Black had gone bust leaving behind debts of more than £300,000.  There was anger that a company set up by Black consequently won the contract to run the new centre which receives an annual grant of £50,000 from the council.

However it also emerged that the Labour politician was questioned over allegations surrounding the supply and use of illegal drugs, allegations that Ms Black strenuously denies.

Councillor Black said of her police interview:
“They asked if I was involved in taking them and passing them to other people as well,” Ms Black said. “Well, of course not.”

Ms Black also dismissed claims of any wrongdoing over the awarding of the drop-in centre contract, describing them as “absolute rubbish”.

Councillor Black claimed that her accusers were former staff members of the centre who held a grudge against her.  Black accused them of having an axe to grind and indicated that she intends to take action against them.

Although no charges have yet been brought, Strathclyde Police have indicated that they may need to speak to Ms Black again.

Glasgow City Council said it would be “inappropriate” to comment.

The SNP yesterday launched their ‘Clean up Glasgow’ campaign and accused Labour of trying to sweep the scandal of Glasgow council under the carpet.

The latest revelations will heap pressure on Labour to explain what was known by Downing Street in 2008 and whether a conference call attended by a Downing Street staffer discussed Steven Purcell.

Gordon Brown promised a month ago to investigate the claims but since then there has been nothing from the Labour leader.