MSP Sheridan wins defamation case

The former leader of the Scottish Socialist party (SSP) has won his defamation case against the News of the World over claims that he took part in sex parties.

Tommy Sheridan said the ruling, in which he was granted the highest possible damages of £200,000, showed that the jury could “differentiate the truth from the muck”.

However, the tabloid newspaper said it was dismayed by the decision, insisting it was “perverse” and was not backed up by the evidence. It pledged to appeal.

The MSP had fought his own case in the Court of Session in Edinburgh ever since sacking his legal team on the ninth day of the trial, and mounted a passionate defence of his reputation.

He rejected outright the newspaper’s allegations of sex, cocaine and champagne orgies – although not before the lurid details were broadcast by the media across the UK.

The most explosive testimony came from Mr Sheridan’s wife, Gail, who took the stand earlier this week in her husband’s defence. She insisted that if she thought the MSP had cheated on her, “I would be in the dock for your murder”.

Speaking outside the court this afternoon, Mr Sheridan said he and his legal team of family and friends had beaten “one of the biggest organisations on the planet” that had tried to “throw nothing but muck at me, my wife and my family”.

“Brothers and sisters, what today’s verdict proves is that working class people when they listen to the argument can differentiate the truth from the muck,” he declared.

“The working class and the jury who have found in our favour have done a service to the people of Scotland and have delivered a message to the standard of journalism that the News of the World represents.

“They are liars and we have proof that they are liars.”

Mr Sheridan, who had to quit as leader of the SSP following the tabloid’s allegations, said he would now spend a few days with his wife and 14-month old daughter, Gabrielle.

However after that, the veteran socialist campaigner insisted he would return to Scottish politics to fight against poverty, nuclear weapons and the war in Lebanon.

“I’ll be back to start calling for the Israeli troops to stop killing innocent people in the Lebanon, for stopping nuclear weapons and fighting for an independent socialist Scotland,” Mr Sheridan declared.