A GOUROCK elected member who defended himself after being accused of using council resources for party political purposes has been cleared by an official probe.

Claims were made that Labour's Martin McCluskey had acted inappropriately by including his council email address and phone number on a leaflet containing an anti-SNP message.

A complaint which was sent to council chief executive Louise Long also alleged that Councillor McCluskey was wrong to advertise his in-person surgeries on the newsletter.

It stated: 'It is undeniable that this is a party political newsletter that promotes the Labour Party and attacks the SNP.

'He [Mr McCluskey] then urges members of the public as part of this political campaign newsletter to contact him on his council email or council phone or to meet him at a venue paid for the council.

'I am aware that the Labour Party were instructed to pulp leaflets like this in the past so I am shocked they would use council resources again to support Labour party campaigning.'

The leaflet, titled ‘Gourock Matters’, was distributed to residents within the councillor’s ward and includes details of how to contact the Gourock representative, as well as a short passage setting out his position on the Scottish Government’s latest budget.

When contacted by the Telegraph about the complaint, Councillor McCluskey said that no public money had been spent on the leaflets and that he had followed all appropriate guidelines about the use of council contact details.

He added: “When I stood for election in Gourock I promised residents I would keep them updated with regular newsletters and would be available for them to contact and meet.

“That is exactly what I have been doing and will continue to do.

“I’m pleased to have been able to deliver this latest edition of 'Gourock Matters' to every household in the ward with information about what I’ve been up to and advertising my drop-in surgeries at Gourock Library.

“This new year edition also featured news about the warm spaces being provided by the council and action I’ve been taking to get our streets cleaned up.

“Not a penny of public money was spent on these leaflets.

“No council funding and no council resources are used for their production.

“I also followed all guidelines about the use of council contact details.

“If, for any reason, any Gourock resident hasn’t received their latest edition of 'Gourock Matters' they can drop me an email and I’ll pop a copy through their door.”

An Inverclyde Council spokesperson said: “We received a complaint and carried out an investigation and found no breaches of the councillors’ code of conduct.

"The complainant has been informed.”