Steven Purcell, the openly gay former Labour leader of Glasgow city council, was questioned by police inside the city council chamber a year ago, it emerged today.
The 37-year-old resigned from his role as leader just a week ago, saying he was suffering from stress. He was ranked at number 16 last year on PinkNews.co.uk’s 50 most powerful gay, lesbian and bisexual people in British politics. Last year, he was named Scottish councilor of the year.
Mr Purcell was questioned by two police officers and it has been reported that they were representing the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement agency, although the agency would not comment on operational matters.
In a statement, Glasgow City Council said: “Councillor Purcell had a private meeting with two police officers in his office at the City Chambers on May 12th, 2009.
“The council will be making no further comment on councillor Steven Purcell. We wish him a full recovery.”
His own spokesperson said: “Mr Purcell has left the politics of Glasgow behind and is now resting and recuperating in the sun.”
It has also been reported that the council were contacted by Vodafone after staff had received what it described as ‘abusive’ calls from a telephone number linked to Mr Purcell. The operator suspended the account two days prior to Mr Purcell entering Castle Craig Hospital, which specialises in drug and alcohol addiction. His psychiatrist says that Mr Purcell has not been treated for a “drug problem.”
Prior to his resignation, Mr Purcell was tipped as a future leader of Scottish Labour and was the most powerful gay man in Scottish politics.
At the time, his spokesman said: “Steven’s family and close friends came to his home at the weekend. They were deeply concerned about the enormous stress levels he was displaying.
“Steven agreed that the pressures surrounding the SPT [Strathclyde Partnership for Transport] debacle and the Commonwealth Games were enormous and that he was totally exhausted.
“He agreed he needed counselling and medical care.
“Steven hopes that the people of Glasgow appreciate that he’s worked so hard for the city he loves.”
Mr Purcell has been under pressure over the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. A row over expenses has led to three senior figures resigning.
A Scottish Labour Party spokesman said: “We respect Mr Purcell’s statement indicating that he intends to resign and so the Labour group on the council will meet today to ensure that all its business can be properly carried out.
“We hope Steven makes a full recovery.”
A councillor since 1995, Mr Purcell was elected, unopposed, as leader of Glasgow city council in May 2005 at the age of 32. He came out in 2006.