One-time Labour starlet Steven Purcell has denied he was ever a 'disgrace'.

The former Glasgow City Council leader, who resigned four years ago in a drugs and drink scandal, has spoken at the hurt he feels over his media portrayal ever since.

The 41-year-old insisted that his departure and his substance abuse were ­symptoms of an illness that resulted in a mental breakdown and suicidal thoughts.

Loading article content

He said: "When I left public office, under circumstances that, of course, I would have preferred had not happened, I was simply a very unwell man. And I had no realisation for some time afterwards how unwell I had become.

"I've still yet to see or hear anything truthful which I personally would associate with the word 'disgrace'".

It emerged after his ­resignation that Mr Purcell had been spoken to by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, ­which was understood to be concerned that his drug use could make him vulnerable to blackmail.

Mr Purcell also dismissed rumours made at the time of his resignation that a newspaper was going to publish footage of him taking cocaine. He said: "I was getting frustrated with this constant rumour, but I knew a video did not exist. On the small number of times that I had foolishly partaken in the use of cocaine, I know it had not been filmed because I was lucid enough to recall who was there."

"I resigned because I had a drink problem. I recognised it was getting so severe that I was not functioning at the level the leader of a council should."

Mr Purcell said he was now trying to stay sober. "Hopefully," he said, "I will get to the stage in my journey that I will never lift a drink."