Sheridan arrested for perjury

Former MSP Tommy Sheridan has been charged with perjury after a year-long investigation into his successful libel trial against the News of the World.

Officers from Lothian and Borders police arrested the Solidarity party leader in Edinburgh yesterday afternoon and his house in Glasgow was also searched.

After six hours the former Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) leader was charged with perjury and bailed by police.

Mr Sheridan, 43, told reporters outside Gayfield police station in Edinburgh he was the victim of a “witch hunt” by the Murdoch press and vowed to clear his name.

Last year, Mr Sheridan successfully won £200,000 damages from the News of the World for claiming he had taken cocaine and cheated on his wife at an orgy.

The News of the World appealed against the ruling and Lothian and Borders police were subsequently asked to investigate claims key witnesses had lied in court.

The trial saw three MSPs from the SSP take to the stand to testify Mr Sheridan admitted attending a swingers club. Four other party members contested this claim.

Mr Sheridan’s wife, Gail, also defended her husband and her testament to her husband’s fidelity was seen as crucial in winning the case.

Mrs Sheridan was yesterday questioned by police while they searched the couple’s house in Cardonald, Glasgow, and their 4×4 vehicle.

Speaking after he was bailed, Mr Sheridan said: “I believe I am the victim of a political witch hunt.

“I believe this whole farcical inquiry, which has used up an incredible amount of public resources, has been orchestrated and influence by the powerful reach of the Murdoch empire and I believe I am the victim of a witchhunt from the Murdoch empire.

“I will prove my innocence in the fullness of time.”

He continued: “I now look forward to going back and hugging my wife and my two-year-old child, who has had to go through the very, very frightening experience of having nine police officers invade her home.

“She should have been at a Christmas party today, but instead she has had to suffer that ignominy.”

The original trial split the SSP, prompting Mr Sheridan to form the Solidarity Party. All former socialist MSPs lost their seats in the May election.