Purcell privacy breach claim
Brian Currie, Political Editor
Published on 5 Mar 2010
The UK’S information watchdog has been asked to investigate claims that Scotland’s biggest council breached
the privacy of its former leader by leaking details about his health.
Lawyers acting for Steven Purcell referred the matter to the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) following
reports the 37-year-old councillor had a “chemical dependency”.
Levy and McRae accused Glasgow City Council of breaching the Data Protection Act, which is designed to protect
Last night the council denied it had provided the information.
A 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.”
The Herald revealed on Tuesday that the council leader was to quit and had agreed to seek medical help.
Reports yesterday said advisers within Glasgow City Council had been preparing a statement saying he had a
“chemical dependency” and was seeking treatment.
It is understood they believed that would have been an effective way of dealing with the crisis and bringing a quick end
to media coverage. However, their advice was rejected and an alternative strategy was adopted.
That led yesterday to the firm providing media advice to Mr Purcell issuing a statement saying the report was “without
foundation and is now in the hands of councillor Steven Purcell’s legal advisers”.
It said lawyers acting on behalf of Mr Purcell had written to the UK Information Commissioner as a data protection
issue because of “information relating to the health of the politician”.
It added: “Solicitor Advocate Peter Watson claims that information concerning Mr Purcell’s alleged health problems
appear to have been provided to the newspaper by one or more persons within Glasgow City Council.
“The information which has been provided is data which falls within