A PRIEST has been told he will not be pursued over historic sex abuse allegations after he was asked to attend a police station.

Father Paul Morton, of St Bride's RC church in Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, was interviewed by officers last Thursday before being told they are no longer investigating him over the claims.

The 55-year-old has been suspended since October, when an allegation dating back many years was made to police.

He was also asked to vacate the parish house attached to the church.

The Bishop of Motherwell, Joseph Toal, in whose diocese the church is based, would not comment on the priest's future following the decision.

He had sent a letter to parishoners, read out during Mass on Sunday, saying that he still had to decide if the priest would return to St Bride's. It is not known if Fr Morton's suspension has been lifted.

He works closely with St Bride's Primary School but a spokesman for South Lanarkshire Council said that the priest's status was "a matter for the church".

He added: "We will continue to monitor the situation."

The priest's family said in a statement the anonymous allegation had been "an unwarranted and incomprehensibly malevolent act perpetrated by a malicious individual."

Signed by the priest's four brothers and two sisters, the statement added: "Our family wish to make clear for the public record that, with the dismissal of the allegation, Paul has been completely exonerated. His innocence, which he has maintained from the beginning, has finally been confirmed.

"We, his family, wish to affirm that the integrity of this dedicated, honest and principled man is intact and we know that his reputation will be immediately restored."

They described Fr Morton's "damaging and distressing ordeal" and said it had taken its toll on his "health, emotional well-being and on the very essence of his beliefs."

They added:"Without doubt, he will go on to surmount the huge damage which has been done to his life and we know that he will continue to give honourable service with his head held high."

However, there was no public reaction from Joseph Toal, the Bishop of Motherwell, who ordered the priest's suspension in the first place.

A letter from him, read to parishoners on Sunday, said he still had to decide whether Fr Morton should return to St Bride's.

The letter also said no further alleged victims had come forward during the police investigation and used the absence of "corroboration" to explain why the police inquiry had concluded.

However, one parishioner who did not wish to be named said:"The letter was very confusing. We don't know whether Fr Morton is coming back or not.

"If he has been cleared by the police, what's stopping his return?"

The parishioner also insisted that the letter ended up by saying the "victim" in all of this should not be forgotten.

A Police Scotland spokesman said:"We can confirm that police have carried out an investigation following a report of historical sex abuse.

"No further police action will be taken at this time."

The Catholic Church refused to comment.