Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sheridans to face perjury trial

Tommy and Gail Sheridan
The couple have denied the allegations of perjury

Former Solidarity MSP and Celebrity Big Brother contestant Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail are to stand trial on perjury charges.

The charges relate to evidence given during Mr Sheridan's defamation victory against the News of the World in 2006.

The newspaper had published sex and drugs claims against Mr Sheridan.

The couple, both aged 44, were charged with perjury in December 2007 following an investigation by Lothian and Borders Police. They both deny the charges.

The investigation was launched after a judge said conflicting evidence in the defamation trial may have meant some people were perjuring themselves.

Mr Sheridan and his wife have consistently denied the allegations and criticised the way Lothian and Borders Police handled the subsequent investigation.

During a news conference on Tuesday, the couple's solicitor, Aamer Anwar, read a statement confirming that they would stand trial.

Tommy Sheridan being evicted from Celebrity Big Brother
Mr Sheridan was evicted from Celebrity Big Brother on 21 January
He said: "I can confirm that an indictment was served today for charges of perjury against Thomas and Gail Sheridan.

"A preliminary hearing is fixed for 26 February 2009 at the High Court in Edinburgh and a trial will then be fixed for later on in the year.

"As proceedings are live it would be inappropriate to comment further, other than to state that both Mr and Mrs Sheridan maintain their innocence and are determined to fight this.

"There will be no further statements or interviews and we would ask the media to respect the Sheridan family's privacy."

The Crown Office confirmed that an indictment had been served.

It said the indictment contained one charge of perjury and one charge of attempted subornation of perjury - or persuading another to commit perjury - against Mr Sheridan.

It also contains a charge of perjury against Mrs Sheridan.

Tommy Sheridan was one of the leading figures in the establishment of the Scottish Socialist Alliance in 1996, which evolved into the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) in 1998.

Party split

He was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 as a member for Glasgow and re-elected in 2003 - along with five other SSP MSPs.

The party fractured in the run-up to the defamation case in 2006. Some party colleagues, including several MSPs, later gave evidence which conflicted with that of Mr Sheridan.

Following his court victory, he announced that he was leaving the SSP and forming a new party, Solidarity, with former Socialist MSP Rosemary Byrne.

Both MSPs, and the remaining four SSP MSPs, lost their seats at the 2007 Holyrood election.

Since then, Mr Sheridan has hosted a chat show during the Edinburgh fringe and had a radio talk show.

He also appeared in this year's version of reality game show, Celebrity Big Brother, where he was fifth person to be evicted.

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Sheridan cancels festival shows
27 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Sheridan's wife on perjury charge
19 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Three charged over Sheridan case
15 Feb 08 |  Scotland
Sheridan fury over perjury charge
17 Dec 07 |  Scotland

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