Earlier in the week I noted that the Daily Record had reported that the fragrant Gail Sheridan and four others had been invited to attend police stations to be interviewed in connection with the ongoing perjury investigation following the aftermath of the defamation action brought by Govan Bigfoot, Tommy Sheridan, against the News of the World. The four others were not named – but today it was revealed that one of them was Rosemary Byrne (Solidarity’s other former MSP)and Solidarity indicated the others were Jock Penman and Graeme McIver.
Byrne’s and McIver’s evidence was discussed in this LJ here. At the time Byrne denied any awareness of the purported minute of 9th November 2004 in which the Tomster was alleged to have admitted to visiting a club, but been confident that no evidence of his visits could be found. This purported minute alleges that after the departure of Tommy Sheridan from the meeting Rosemary Byrne and Graeme McIver were two of those who argued that Tommy Sheridan should not continue to deny the allegations. Penman is not referred to in this context in the minute. However, it is not apparent from the alleged minute if Byrne, Penman or McIver voted on the question of what action the SSP required of Sheridan (Ie resignation of his leadership for family reasons).
Regular readers will recall that these minutes were not revealed to the general SSP membership at the time, and the terms of a vote in late November 2004 ensured they remained confidential – although the existence of the relevant minutes and withholding of them from the court led to the SSP’s Alan McCombes ending up in jail for contempt of court. For some reason Rosemary Byrne’s name no longer appears on the list of Sheridan supporters on the Defend Tommy Sheridan website (oh, and on that – anyone know where Peter Mullan’s name is given his past support for the Tomster?).
At the time of her evidence I suggested that Byrne’s political career was on the line if she was lying as she would be accused of perjury. And lo and behold Byrne has been arrested (or as one blog puts it “Traitors arrest former MSP“). Accordingly, Byrne’s arrest is not a surprise for those following the case. Solidarity have announced that her colleagues in Solidarity and former SSP executive committee members, Jock Penman and Graeme McIver, have also been arrested (to no comment from the police yet).
The arrests suggest that the police is treating the alleged minute of executive committee meeting of 9th November as genuine and McIver and Penman both gave evidence that Sheridan had denied the allegations in the News of the World, contrary to the minute .
Byrne, McIver, and Penman, like Sheridan deny the allegations – and it is very difficult to determine how a jury will react if faced with a trial in due course.
Solidarity press spokesman Jim Monaghan said,
“We consider this to be a political witch-hunt. I don’t think we have anything to worry about. We believe it’s just police intimidation and it’s to put pressure on members of Solidarity and to put pressure on Tommy Sheridan. We expected this as part of an ongoing pressure campaign. Our members have done nothing wrong and have nothing to fear in a court at all.”
“Tommy was asked if the Notw story (married MSP is swinging spanker) could be him, he said yes, some would take that to mean all of it, Tommy meant that it probably was him as he once went to that club with Anvar Khan. So he denied parts of it (cocaine, champagne, spanking). Some remember the denial bits, some remember the admission bits. Human memories are faulty and we remember things the way we want to.”
Monaghan can testify to the faultiness of human memory and remembering things the way we want to, as by September 2006 he indicated that he did not believe that Mr Sheridan had attended the clubs in Manchester and completely believed Mr Sheridan and while he obtained a correction for a description of him in the Observer report, the genuineness of the e-mails was not denied.
While Sheridan, Byrne and others deny the stories investigations continue – and meanwhile in another part of the alphabet soup of left wing politics an SWP member and Respect councillor has joined the Tories. Must have missed that one being trumpeted by Iain Dale.