Glasgow problems pile up for Labour

The drip drip of allegations over the management and conduct of the Labour party and organisations of the Labour run Glasgow City Council and it's organisations have created more questions for Labour to answer.

The latest revelations in the wake of Steven Purcell’s resignation concerning the administration of Glasgow City Council in the Sunday papers are potentially damaging for Glasgow’s reputation says city SNP MP John Mason.

Key newspaper reports are:

* The Sunday Times reports that Strathclyde police is to seek guidance from the Crown Office on whether to investigate Willie Haughey - Labour’s biggest donor in Scotland – about the awarding of contracts worth £20 million by Glasgow City Council when it was run by Steven Purcell.

* Other documents obtained by The Sunday Times reveal how Willie Haughey won an £11.2 million deal to supply fleet vehicles to a council-run company. This was despite charging up to 120% more than rival bidders for some cars, and owning few of the vehicles necessary to fulfil the contract.

* Another further contract for heavy plant hire worth £8 million was also awarded to a company owned by him.

* The Scotland on Sunday reveals that the City Building construction quango set up by Steven Purcell donated a total of £4,000 to the Labour. This follows their earlier report that the quango treated senior Labour members, including Iain Gray to a £2,000 dinner at a party fund-raiser last year.

* The Sunday Herald reveals that another quango which was run by one of Steven Purcell’s ex-advisers - Ian Manson - paid Labour’s biggest Scottish donor almost £700,000 in a land deal. Clyde Gateway Developments paid the money to Willie Haughey last year for his interest in a site at Camp Road, Rutherglen.

Mr Mason, who formally referred earlier matters to the police last week in the wake of Steven Purcell’s resignation, said:

“This drip-drip of serious and damaging allegations in the wake of Steven Purcell’s resignation and how the Labour party appears to have benefitted financially are damaging to Glasgow’s reputation. It’s about time they got their heads out of the sand and admitted there is a wide ranging and serious problem.

“We have had a series of extremely serious allegations in the media over the past few weeks. The people of Glasgow deserve to have all of these issues properly investigated.

“This has gone beyond the personal tragedy that has affected Steven Purcell, or even how recent events are impacting on the running of the city. Along with other stories in today’s papers these revelations go to the very heart of how the Labour party operates when in power.”

Glasgow SNP Council Group leader, Cllr James Dornan, commented on a report that Des Browne benefitted fro ma £893 dinner when he was only a backbench MP:

"There are more and more questions for Glasgow's ruling Labour administration to answer.  At the Emergency council meeting they must support a full statement and independent investigation - any attempt to continue their silence will be a deep disservice to the people of Glasgow.

“I am concerned that taxpayers’ money was used to fund an extravagant dinner for a visiting Labour backbencher. This requires an urgent investigation. I will be writing to ascertain what is going on.”



Today’s revelations can be read at the following links:

The Sunday Times - Strathclyde police move to probe Willie Haughey’s £20m deals

Scotland on Sunday - Purcell quango gave £4,000 to Labour Party

The Sunday Herald - Company linked to Purcell in £700,000 land deal with Labour donor

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