23/12/2012 13:39 GMT

Former East Dunbartonshire Council Leader John Morrison Dies Following Glasgow City Centre Street Assault

A former council leader who died in hospital after being found lying in a busy city centre street was assaulted prior to his death, police have revealed.

Former East Dunbartonshire Council leader John Morrison, 50, was found lying in Glasgow's Argyle Street at around 12.20am yesterday.

The former Liberal Democrat councillor, who lived in Milngavie, was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where he later died.

A police spokesperson said: "Officers have been conducting enquiries and gathering and reviewing CCTV images.

"A post-mortem examination has been carried out, however it has proved inconclusive and the exact cause of death has yet to be established.

"Police enquiries so far have identified that Mr Morrison was assaulted prior to his death."

Mr Morrison led East Dunbartonshire Council between 2003 and 2007.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy 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."

Scottish Liberal Democrat deputy leader Alistair Carmichael said: "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.

"I am sure that this will be true of John's many friends today. My thoughts are with his partner David, his daughter Kirsty and the rest of his family."

East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson 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."