The SNP have pledged to clean up Glasgow politics and accused the Labour leadership of trying to brush the recent scandal that engulfed the city council under the carpet.
First Minister Alex Salmond joined John Mason, SNP candidate for Glasgow East on the campaign to clean up the city as the two launched the SNP’s latest campaign poster “Champion Clean”.
Labour were rocked in March by the shock resignation and subsequent disappearance of former council leader Steven Purcell. There then followed lurid allegations of cocaine use and visits by drug enforcement officers to council chambers warning of blackmail from city gangsters.
These claims were confirmed as true after Mr Purcell surfaced in Ireland and made a series of admissions to The Sun newspaper. The article also contained damaging allegations that senior council officials had known of the visit by drugs enforcement officers and were also aware that Purcell had used cocaine. At least one Labour councillor has now admitted to being aware of the visit by drugs police when it took place.
It also emerged that public cash was being donated to the Labour party by council owned organisations and that high profile Labour party donors had been awarded lucrative council contracts by these same bodies.
SNP Glasgow East candidate, John Mason said:
“It is way past time for politics in Glasgow to be cleaned up. The recent actions of the Labour leadership show their control of this city doesn’t just need a bright light shone on it, it needs washed clean.
Mr Salmond also opened the SNP’s campaign office on Shettleston Road before chatting to local voters.
The First Minister highlighted John Mason’s credentials as Glasgow’s real local champion as the working example for the SNP’s “Champion’s Charter” – a Community Commitment that all SNP candidates will sign up to.
Commenting, Mr Salmond said:
“As both a councillor and then an MP, John Mason is proving he is a true local champion for Glasgow.
“His stunning by-election win sent shockwaves all the way to Westminster: the people of Glasgow will not be taken for granted.
“This coming election is a chance for local people to send that message again – but this time to the City Chambers and to Labour across this city – it is time to clean up Glasgow.
“John Mason has set the standard people want their local MP to meet and he has put the actions of typical Westminster politicians to shame. His commitment to his constituents will be replicated across the country by a strong team of SNP candidates working to be true local champions for their community and national champions for Scotland.”
John Mason added:
“It is a privilege to serve the people of Glasgow East and to speak on behalf of this great city.
“The people of Glasgow have been let down far too often and for far too long by Labour.
“At this election the people of Glasgow can send a strong message to the Westminster machine by electing SNP politicians who will serve the people, not serve themselves.”
The Herald newspaper reports that the SNP pledge to clean up Glasgow has suffered a backlash.
The apparent ‘backlash’ is actually a repeat of Labour’s claim that the SNP are anti Glasgow.
The desperate smear from the party who have mired Glasgow Council in drugs, corruption and cronyism allegations will be seen as a sign of panic at the thought of a real voter backlash.
There are growing suspicions that Downing Street were aware of rumours about Steven Purcell in 2008, Gordon Brown still refuses to reveal what was discussed in a 2008 conference call from Number 10 attended by a Downing Street staffer.
If senior Labour figures were aware of Steven Purcell’s personal problems then they could well find themselves having to explain why this man was allowed to remain in charge of a council with an annual budget of around 2.5 billion.