Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Purcell to quit

I heard very late last night on twitter and the political scrapbook blog that Steven Purcell, Labour leader of Glasgow City Council was to step down. I could scarcely believe it, but picking up the papers on the way to the pool this morning confirmed the story was real .

Being leader of Glasgow City Council is a big gig; come the general election, it could be the most significant position Labour in Scotland have. Scotland's biggest city has a massive budget and all the trappings of power that accompanies that.

Keeping going as the political leader of the city for five years must take it's toll, and the stress story certainly sounds believable. I hope Steven gets the time, support and space he needs to recover.

I wonder though, who will fill his shoes, and will they be able to unite a Labour group which has it's own rivalries and history. Whoever takes over will seize control of the considerable patronage available in Glasgow, doling out lucrative paid positions as senior Councillors, Committee Conveners, and places on arms length organisations. What will it mean for Glasgow Labour's relationship with the rest of the party, and with the Scottish Government (which they pettily refer to as 'Executive' whenever they can)? Interesting times lie ahead...

UPDATE: just had an email from the Council's Chief Executive, who says Councillor Jim Coleman, the current Deputy Leader, will take over in the interim and Labour will appoint a new leader in May. Lots of time for shenanigans, back-stabbing and dealmaking!


Ted Harvey said...

When an individual's health and wellbeing is affected we of course have to remember to put politics in its (less important) place.

There was a brief shot tonight on television of ruling Labour group councillors leaving a Chambers committee room - with big Alstair Watson fresh from the SPT debacle large as life. I did wonder if this guy's conscience has been affected by the personal contribution that his conduct at SPT must have made to the stress that so badly affected his group leader... well I can always wonder.

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