Tommy Sheridan did not attend a cultural festival organised by the Scottish Socialist Party on the same days he is alleged to have attended a swingers’ club in Manchester, a court heard on Friday.
Former Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) treasurer Allison Kane said Sheridan failed to appear at the SSP People’s Festival until the evening of Saturday, 28 September, 2002.
Kane was recalled to the trial at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday to be re-examined by Sheridan, who is now conducting his own defence.
She said she had organised the event in venues across Glasgow to raise money for the party and showcase the cultural side of the SSP.
Speakers included film director Ken Loach, who gave a question and answer session at the Glasgow Film Theatre.
She said she expected Sheridan to attend because he was “one of my staunchest supporters within the party”.
She told Advocate Depute Alex Prentice QC: “He wasn’t at the Friday night event, neither was he at the Saturday during the day, but he was at Saturday evening and the Monday. I remember that because it was my birthday.”
The politician has previously shown the trial his diary for that year, with the words: “SSP People’s Festival. Friday – Monday. Must attend” written in the space for 27 September.
Sheridan also asked witnesses, including Duncan Rowan and Katrine Trolle, if they had expected that “the Convenor of the party would have attended” such an event.
Kane said the festival, billed as “fun, music and culture”, was a “huge undertaking” and it was the first time the SSP had tried to hold such an event.
Sheridan and his wife Gail, both 46, are accused of lying under oath during his successful defamation action against the News of the World in 2006.
Sheridan denies lying to the courts during the trial, which followed the newspaper’s claims that he was an adulterer who visited swingers’ clubs.
Sheridan won £200,000 in damages after the newspapers printed the allegations about his private life.
The indictment against Sheridan contains the charge that “on 27 September, 2002 you did attend said Cupid’s in Manchester with said Andrew McFarlane, Gary Clark, Anvar Bergum Khan and Katrine Trolle and that you had visited a club for swingers.”
The indictment against the Sheridans contains three charges in total, two of which are broken down into subsections.
It is alleged he made false statements as a witness in the defamation action of 21 July, 2006.
He also denies a charge of attempting to persuade a witness to commit perjury shortly before the 23-day trial got under way.
Mrs Sheridan denies making false statements on 31 July, 2006, after being sworn in as a witness in the civil jury trial.
Kane told the court Sheridan must be the “unluckiest person in the world” if, as he said, “everyone he met” was against him.
He accused her of being in a “conspiracy” with other people within the SSP to oust him as leader.
Kane said: “You must be the most unluckiest (sic) person in the world because what we have heard is that everyone you have met in the last 20, 30 years is either lying or conspiring against you. You must be a very unfortunate person.”
Sheridan asked her about an affidavit given to the Sunday Herald newspaper by the SSP’s press and policy co-ordinator Alan McCombes.
He went to the newspaper to put on record the reasons why Sheridan was asked to resign as party leader following an emergency meeting of the party’s executive, according to the document shown to the court.
The meeting was held in response to “a sex scandal involving Tommy”, the document, later shown to the court by the advocate depute, said.
It claimed that Sheridan was not acting “appropriately or sensibly” in relation to the News of the World allegations.
It said the party “had information in our possession” which backed up this claim and “would have forced him to resign” if it was made public.
The affidavit resulted in the publication of an article in the newspaper on 28 May, 2006.
Sheridan put it to Kane that McCombes had acted with “gross cynicism” in “scurrying to the press” about the story.
Kane said: “I can understand why he did it. After all, you had left the meeting and gone to the Parliament and held press conferences.
“Alan probably wanted to put on record an accurate record of what had happened. He did it to protect our party.”
She added: “That’s exactly what you did. You scurried and you collaborated with the bourgeois press. He scurried the same as you did. If Mr McCombes is cynical, then you are too.”
The trial, before Lord Bracadale, was adjourned until later today.