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In the chamber

Brian Taylor | 15:18 UK time, Thursday, 1 April 2010

And so the SNP pursues matters arising from the departure of the Glasgow Council leader Steven Purcell in the most straightforward manner possible - in the city chambers itself.

The SNP group on the council wants a full statement from the Labour leadership on the authority and an independent investigation.

Into what, precisely?

There, inevitably, a slight vagueness descends. SNP councillors reply, with some justification, that they cannot be certain what, if anything, has gone awry until an inquiry is held.

But, for starters, they want information as to who knew what - and when - with regard to Mr Purcell's personal crisis; what was done with that information; what impact, if any, these personal developments had upon council decisions.

Further, they question the operation of the arms length institutions set up by the council under Mr Purcell.

SNP questions

(Whenever I hear the phrase "arms length", I cannot help thinking of the government minister who was facing tough questions over the doings of a particular quango.

Challenged as to whether it would maintain its "arms length" status, he replied: "Yes. Just a shorter arm.")

Labour's response to the SNP questions. Go away and stop asking such exasperating questions.

They say the Purcell affair is a personal tragedy, that there has been no malfeasance, that Glasgow is a well-run authority and that the SNP complaints amount to a political smear campaign.

UPDATE AT 1654: The city council, with its Labour majority, has voted against holding an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Steven Purcell's departure.


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