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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 November, 2004, 07:59 GMT
Sheridan resignation - statement
Tommy Sheridan has resigned as leader of the Scottish Socialist Party with immediate effect.

Here is the party's statement on his decision to go.

The Scottish Socialist Party announces that Tommy Sheridan has resigned as national convenor of the party with immediate effect.

Tommy has played an outstanding role in the development of socialist politics in Scotland over the course of two decades and has become one of the most effective party spokespersons in UK politics.

Tommy Sheridan's track record in fighting for the cause of the working class is undisputed. Jailed in 1992 for defying a court order banning him from a warrant sale in Turnbull Street, Glasgow, Tommy spent six months in Edinburgh's Saughton jail.

While a prisoner there he was elected as councillor for Pollok in May of 1992.

Through the course of the next 15 years, Tommy was sent to jail again for fighting the poll tax but also for taking part in blockades at Faslane nuclear submarine base in the fight for nuclear disarmament, a cause he believed passionately in.

Whether it was on striking workers' picket lines or his championing of the abolition of the council tax, Tommy Sheridan brought to Scottish politics a unique voice that spoke up for those who had no voice in the elitist world of establishment politics.

Fifteen years at the frontline of political struggle would take its toll on anyone.

For the first four years of the Scottish Parliament, Tommy battled alone as the sole MSP, for six years he has led the party and as a larger than life public figure has come under intense personal pressure and scrutiny.

Play a role

These pressures have recently been aggravated by changes in his personal circumstances which have been widely reported.

Faced with these pressures, Tommy has decided to take a step back from the frontline of political struggle.

He has issued a personal statement explaining in more detail his reasons for standing down.

The SSP executive understands the pressure Tommy is under and accepts his decision to resign as national convenor and is confident that he will continue to play an important role in the continued success of the party and the movement that he played a central role in bringing to the position it is today.

Although a new party that has was born just five years ago, the SSP has never been a "one man band" and contains an abundance of talent and a range of expertise.

Tommy's decision comes while nominations are open for the party convenorship.

It will be in the hands of the party bodies and membership to decide arrangements for party convenorship. In the meantime the SSP group in the Scottish Parliament will make arrangements in consultation with the elected structures of the party.

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