A FORMER council leader died in the early hours of Saturday morningafter being assaulted earlier in the evening, police have confirmed.
• Former LibDem councillor John Morrison was found dead in Argyle Street, Glasgow
• The exact cause of death has not been established
John Morrison, who was Glasgow City Council’s legal manager and led East Dunbartonshire Council from 2003 to 2007, was found on Argyle Street around 12.40am and died later at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
Strathclyde Police said last night that a 25-year-old man had been arrested in connection with an alleged assault on Mr Morrison. The man is expected to appear at Glasgow Sheriff Court today.
A post mortem examination on Mr Morrison was inconclusive and the exact cause of his death has not been established.
The 50-year-old former Liberal Democrat councillor, from Milngavie, was found in Argyle Street near St Enoch shopping centre.His relatives have been informed.
Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, who attended university with Morrison, paid tribute to the former councillor last night.
He said: “This shockingly sad news sees the sudden passing of a great character and a memorable personality within the party.
“I first became friends with John at Glasgow University and was pleased when he succeeded me there as chairman of the Social Democrats in university union debating.
“He went on to make his mark both in the law and local government. It was a great pity that he was never able to deploy his talents at Holyrood.
“Our thoughts go out to his family at this time of such acute distress.”
Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire said: “This is shocking news and my heart goes out to John’s partner, family and friends.
“John was a skilful debater and effective leader of East Dunbartonshire Council. He dedicated decades of his life to public service, both in elected politics and at Glasgow City Council. This is a tragic loss.”
Mr Morrison, who attended North Kelvinside Secondary and then Glasgow University, later went into politics. He also credited with obtaining the first anti-social behaviour order for a registered social landlord in Scotland when he was seconded to the Glasgow Housing Association.
Scottish LibDem deputy leader Alistair Carmichael MP saod: “John Morrison’s sudden and tragic death has shocked all those who knew him.
“For me he was not just a political colleague but a close friend whom I had first met when we were both students at Glasgow University.
“My sadness today is lifted only by many happy memories I shall always have of the fun times we shared.
“My thoughts are with his partner David, his daughter Kirsty and the rest of his family.”
Tributes were also made through social media, noting in particular his humour and that he was a “very astute solicitor”.
Labour MP Tom Greatrex said on Twitter: “Shocked and saddened to hear of death of John Morrison - knew from East Dun Council days & caught up with him 3 wks ago.”
Mr Morrison served as deputy council leader from 1999 to 2003 before leading the local authority. He lost his seat in 2007 when the Liberal Democrats lost most of their 12 posts on East Dunbartonshire Council.
He was legal manager at Glasgow City Council and dealt with litigation for the authority, having worked there since around 1990. His main client was Glasgow Community and Safety Services Ltd, the arms-length firm responsible for advising on ASBOs and private landlord registration issues. He had particular experience with housing law, including antisocial housing evictions.
Annemarie O’Donnell, GCC’s Executive Director of Corporate Services said: “This is a real loss for Glasgow which will be felt right across the council family. John was an excellent friend and colleague who was loved as much as he was admired by everyone he worked with.
“My thoughts are with John’s partner and family at this really difficult time.”