Tommy Sheridan 'asked colleague to lie about sex club visit'

The outspoken former leader of the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) asked a party colleague to lie for him after he admitted twice visiting a swingers' club, a court heard yesterday.

Tommy Sheridan also asked Alison Kane to "rattle some cages" to ensure that minutes of a party meeting in which he told colleagues he had been to Cupid's Club in Manchester "disappeared", it was alleged. Ms Kane was the second person to tell a perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow that Mr Sheridan told an emergency meeting of the SSP's executive that he had visited the club with some "close friends".

Mr Sheridan, a former Member of the Scottish Parliament, and his wife Gail, both 46, are accused of lying under oath during Mr Sheridan's successful 2006 defamation action against the News of the World. The couple deny the allegations.

Ms Kane, a former SSP treasurer, told the court Mr Sheridan had "lost the plot" and was "fighting for his political life" after he made the admission to a meeting at the party headquarters in Glasgow on 9 November 2004.

She said he asked to meet her "four or five days" after the meeting and then asked her to lie about other members of the party and persuade remaining committee members to get rid of the minutes detailing his confession.

Ms Kane, 42, who has since left the SSP and now works as a part-time lecturer and accountant, said Mr Sheridan had been "one of my best friends", but their friendship ended after she told the party's executive what he had asked her to do.

The trial continues.