Page last updated at 20:15 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Steven Purcell 'not treated for drug problem'

Steven Purcell
Mr Purcell quit after five years as council leader

The former leader of Glasgow City Council, Steven Purcell, was not treated for a drug problem, according to his psychiatrist.

Lawyers acting for Mr Purcell revealed the medical assessment from Dr Florian Kaplick to BBC Scotland.

Mr Purcell spent three days at a rehabilitation clinic in the Borders which specialises in drug and alcohol addiction.

Mr Purcell resigned on Tuesday citing exhaustion and stress.

The letter regarding Mr Purcell came from his consultant psychiatrist, based at the Castle Craig rehabilitation clinic near Peebles.

In it, Dr Kaplick said it needed to be noted that Mr Purcell was not treated for "a drug problem".

The 37-year-old was staying there on Tuesday when he formally resigned as leader of Scotland's largest local authority. He was admitted on Sunday.

'Chemical dependency'

Later that day he was reported missing but found before a search was started.

Before his resignation, officials at the council were preparing to say he was quitting to deal with "chemical dependency" issues.

They later refused to comment on the details of his resignation after being contacted by Mr Purcell's legal team.

The council statement was abandoned after officials agreed with Mr Purcell's lawyers that they should not mention his personal issues.

His spokesman said claims of a chemical dependency were without foundation.

He added that the issue was now in the hands of Mr Purcell's legal team.

Castle Craig Hospital describes itself as "one of Europe's top rehab clinics" and provides inpatient treatment for those suffering from alcohol and drug addiction.

Data breach

It has also emerged that lawyers for the former leader have reported the local authority to information watchdogs.

Law firm Levy and McRae believe someone at Glasgow City Council breached the Data Protection Act by leaking details about Steven Purcell's health to a newspaper.

Lawyers have now written to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) asking for an investigation.

However, a Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "The council believes it has complied with the terms of the Data Protection Act and will deal with any complaint on that basis."

He added that information in the newspaper was not provided by the council.

It became apparent over the weekend that Mr Purcell would be standing down as leader of Glasgow City Council.

An official announcement of his resignation was made at a meeting of the Labour group on Tuesday morning.

'Sick man'

A PR firm appointed by Mr Purcell issued a statement on Wednesday saying the former council leader was recuperating with family, and asking the media to allow him time and space to recover to full health.

It has since emerged that lawyers acting for Mr Purcell have complained to the Press Complaints Commission about what they said was "harassment of a sick man".

The former council leader's advisers said he was suffering from exhaustion and cited stress over the preparations for the Commonwealth Games and troubles at Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) among the reasons for his departure.

Proceedings to choose a new leader will begin later in the year, probably after a general election.

Until then, the role will be filled by Mr Purcell's former deputy, Councillor Jim Coleman.

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