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Company linked to Purcell in £700,000 land deal with Labour donor

A quango run by one of former Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell’s ex-advisers paid Labour’s biggest Scottish donor almost £700,000 in a land deal.

Regeneration firm Clyde Gateway Developments paid the money to Willie Haughey last year for his interest in a site at Camp Road, Rutherglen.

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Clyde Gateway’s chief executive is Ian Manson, who was an adviser to Mr Purcell for two years before moving to the regeneration quango in 2008.

Its board includes four councillors, all Labour, including George Ryan, Mr Purcell’s right-hand man when he became council leader in 2005. On February 13 last year, the board of Clyde Gateway, which is assembling land around Rutherglen’s Shawfield Stadium for regeneration, agreed to pay £680,000 plus VAT to acquire the land from one of Mr Haughey’s firms.

Clyde Gateway’s chairman is Dr Robert Crawford, former head of Scottish Enterprise and a well-known SNP supporter and former SNP candidate. He was absent from the board meeting that agreed the deal with Mr Haughey, but Clyde Gateway said he was aware of the paperwork in advance and had no objection. The meeting was led instead by vice-chair Councillor Chris Thompson of South Lanarkshire.

Mr Haughey, who has given £1.1 million to Labour since 2003, leased the land from the then Glasgow District Council in 1991.He then bought it outright in the mid-1990s. It is understood a paper for Clyde Gateway’s board proposed two options for the site: doing nothing and acquiring the site.

The latter would give Clyde Gateway control of a growing block of land and reduce the chance of being held to ransom by property speculators.

Mr Haughey’s site was one of around two dozen plots acquired by Clyde Gateway as part of a multi-million pound rejuvenation project. A spokesman for Clyde Gateway said Camp Road had been priced by an independent valuer. He said Mr Haughey had no connection with Clyde Gateway and had never been a board member.

“This is completely above board, and no different from any other deal that we have done over two years in Shawfield,” he added. Mr Haughey said criticism of his business was politically motivated. “It’s absolutely political. There’s an election coming up,” he added.

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