Disgraced former MSP Tommy Sheridan is back on the road again, advocating a Yes to independence.
He's still got the power to whip up a crowd, but the official Yes camp is far from happy at being linked to a convicted perjury.
Here's the story.
TENSIONS have erupted inside the pro-independence campaign over Tommy Sheridan, after it emerged the convicted perjurer spoke at a meeting under the offical Yes banner.
The former jailbird shared a stage last week with SNP MSP Christina McKelvie at an event organised by Yes Hamilton, a semi-autonomous offshoot of the Yes Scotland movement.
Yes Scotland board member Colin Fox, whose testimony helped send Sheridan to prison for lying on oath, reacted furiously to the news.
He said: “The guy is a convicted perjurer. He’s a liability to Yes. We don’t want him.”
Sheridan, who was jailed for three years in 2011 for perjury during his 2006 defamation action against the News of the World, recently embarked on a one-man speaking tour to promote a Yes vote called “Hope over Fear”, but has been shunned by the official Yes camp.
In 2012, SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney said the disgraced former Glasgow MSP was “a man who has no political credibility whatsoever – none whatsoever. Not even political credibility, no credibility in terms of the judgments made by the courts of the land.”
Organisers of the Yes Scotland group in Glasgow later cold-shouldered Sheridan when he tried to become part of the organisation.
Despite the clear signal from Swinney, McKelvie, convener of Holyrood’s European and External Affairs committee, spoke along with the former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) at a miner’s welfare club in Hamilton on Tuesday before an audience of around 200.
Despite repeated calls and emails to her publicly-funded media adviser, McKelvie, the MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, did not respond to requests for comment.
|Christina McKelvie MSP and Tommy Sheridan last Tuesday|
Sheridan, 50, was a list MSP from 1999 to 2007 and a one-time convener of the SSP before forming the breakaway Solidarity Party in 2006.
He launched Solidarity a few weeks after winning a £200,000 defamation action against the now-defunct News of the World, which had claimed he was an adulterer and a swinger who had visited Cupid’s sex club in Manchester.
During the civil case, Sheridan accused some of his old colleagues in the Scottish Socialists of conspiring against him and said they had engineered “the mother of all stitch-ups”.
Conflicting testimony during the case prompted a police investigation into possible perjury.
In 2010, Sheridan was found guilty of lying under oath and sentenced to three years.
|The flyer for Tuesday's event|
He was released after a year in prison.
Colin Fox, a Yes Scotland board member, a current SSP co-convener and one of those who testified against Sheridan at his trial, said: “I don’t want anything to do with him.
“I think he helps the No campaign.
“Last time last year he was leader of the anti-bedroom tax campaign. This year he wants to be part of the yes campaign. He’s got an addiction to limelight.”
The pro-Union Better Together campaign seized on Sheridan’s appearance under the Yes banner.
A spokesman said: “With Tommy Sheridan now joining the official Yes campaign, we can expect to see a swing to us.”
Yes Scotland stressed Sheridan was not part of its operation, and said local groups were free to arrange their own speakers.
A spokesman said: “Any individual’s involvement in Yes Scotland community activities is entirely a matter for the local groups.”
Sheridan could not be contacted for comment.