Sheridan accused of 'selling out' on his party

Former Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan was yesterday accused in court of “selling out” on his political party and voters by an ex-colleague.

Frances Curran also accused the former leader of her party of conducting a defence against charges of perjury that only consisted of saying: “Liar, liar pants on fire” to witnesses.

The court heard that when she asked Sheridan to step down as leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, he said he had expected “more loyalty” from her.

She said she told the politician she expected “more honesty and principle from you”.

Sheridan and his wife Gail, both 46, are on trial at the High Court in Glasgow accused of lying under oath during his successful defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.

Sheridan denies lying to the courts during the trial, which followed the newspaper’s claims that he was an adulterer who visited swingers’ clubs.

Curran, a former SSP MSP, said Sheridan was asked to resign as the party’s leader after he allegedly admitted during an emergency meeting of the party’s top brass on 9 November, 2004 that he had visited a swingers’ club with a News of the World sex columnist.

He also said he was going to sue the newspaper, the trial heard.

Curran today became the 13th witness to say she heard Sheridan make the admissions and declare his intention to take court action during the emergency meeting.

The following day, she met Sheridan and fellow SSP MSP Colin Fox at an Edinburgh hotel and asked him to resign, because they wanted to “decouple” the party from the court action.

“We said to Tommy: ‘Are you going to take the court action?’ He said: ‘Yes’.

“I said: ‘Well, we want your resignation.’

“He said: ‘For f***’s sake, Frances. I would have expected more loyalty from you.’

“I said: ‘Tommy, I would have expected more honesty and principle from you.'”

Under cross examination by Sheridan, who is conducting his own defence, Curran said Sheridan’s “biggest crime” was not lying to the courts but was betraying the party he helped to found.

She said: “You sold out your party; you sold out the people who voted for you. It’s a disgrace that you are publicly humiliating people like this.”

Sheridan accused Curran of lying under oath both at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in 2006, when she was cited by the court to hand over the minutes of the 9 November, 2004 meeting, and lying again today.

He said she heard him make “denials, not admissions” during the meeting.

Curran responded: “Is this your whole defence? They’re lying, they’re lying, they’re lying? Liar, liar pants on fire? Is that your defence in the whole of this?”

The court also heard that three Crown witnesses – Eddie Truman, Barbara Scott and Rosie Kane – appeared to have discussed a comment made on a blog about the trial on Facebook.

Sheridan read the comments out during his cross-examination of Scott, the former SSP minutes secretary.

She was the first witness to give evidence to the trial, but was recalled after Sheridan parted company with his former QC.

The comments, posted on 20 October, 2010 concerned Katrine Trolle, who previously told the trial she had had an affair with Sheridan.

He said Scott wrote on the site: “Trolle. It’s nothing short of terrible what has happened to her. x.”

Scott told the court today: “I said a comment to Katrine telling her it was terrible what had happened to her.”

Scott also told the court she had been approached at a branch meeting by one of Sheridan’s supporters who told her it was her “duty as a Socialist” to lie in court for Sheridan.

Anne Edmonds, who went on to join Sheridan’s Solidarity party, and Scott later stopped speaking, she told the court.

She said: “I was shocked, as she was quite a nice old lady.”

The indictment against the Sheridans contains three charges in total, two of which are broken down into subsections.

It is alleged he made false statements as a witness in the defamation action of 21 July, 2006.

He also denies a charge of attempting to persuade a witness to commit perjury shortly before the 23-day trial got under way.

Gail Sheridan denies making false statements on 31 July, 2006, after being sworn in as a witness in the civil jury trial.

The trial, before Lord Bracadale, was adjourned until later today.

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