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According to independent news magazine ‘The Digger’ the police were originally made aware of the video when a former officer, now serving a sentence for drug dealing, revealed its existence in a meeting with the Serious Organised Crime Agency.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.


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