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Last Updated: Monday, 29 May 2006, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
SSP votes to hand over documents
Tommy Sheridan
Mr Sheridan has brought a libel case against a newspaper
Senior members of the SSP have voted in favour of documents that landed top party official Alan McCombes in jail being handed over to the courts.

In an open letter to activists, former SSP leader Tommy Sheridan had urged the party to offer up the minutes.

He had praised Mr McCombes' courage for refusing to comply with the courts, but also accused him of bad leadership.

Mr Sheridan told SSP members there was a "cabal of comrades" leading the party into "serious decay".

The News of the World had requested the internal party documents to defend a defamation case brought by Mr Sheridan.

Mr McCombes was jailed on Friday for 12 days for refusing to provide the minutes from a meeting which had discussed Mr Sheridan's resignation from his position as party convener in 2004.

'Outrageous practice'

The Glasgow MSP had agreed to step down in November 2004 citing family reasons.

His decision came shortly after allegations about his private life were published by the paper.

In his letter to SSP members, Mr Sheridan claimed it was "outrageous practice" for the party to hold secret minutes that contained personal details about him.

He said they had been constantly leaked to the media and should now be handed over to trigger the release of Mr McCombes.

He added: "I believe that Alan and a core group of seven or eight other leading comrades have misled the party into their current quandary.

"But I salute his courage and determination to resist the undemocratic power of unelected judges to interfere in the internal affairs of democratic political parties."

He said the strategy of the core group had been "alien to the socialist and trade union movement and more akin to the dark days of Stalinism."

These are not the best days for the SSP
Colin Fox
SSP leader

Mr Sheridan told BBC Radio Scotland: "I think there have been a group of individuals in the party who tried to undermine me and my credibility because of personal spite or dislike."

The SSP's ruling council held an emergency meeting on Sunday and voted in favour of releasing the documents.

SSP leader Colin Fox said "serious consideration" would now be given to the release of the documents.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: "These are not the best days for the SSP.

"I don't recognise the description Tommy Sheridan's given the party. There are clearly tensions within the party but there are in every party.

"But there's a lot of things Tommy and I agree on and I'm sure he will play his part in healing the party."

Tommy Sheridan hits out at SSP 'cabal'

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27 May 06 |  Scotland
SSP official jailed over papers
26 May 06 |  Scotland
Fox elected as new leader of SSP
13 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Profile: SSP leadership hopefuls
25 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Two names in SSP leader contest
24 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Sheridan 'draws line' under exit
27 Nov 04 |  Scotland


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