FORMER Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail appeared in court yesterday on perjury charges.
• Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail arrive at the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh yesterday. Picture: PA
The couple, both 45, are accused of lying on oath in connection with the ex-MSP's successful 2006 defamation action against the News of the World.
Sheridan, a former contestant in Celebrity Big Brother, won 200,000 in damages after the Sunday newspaper printed allegations about his private life.
A date has not yet been fixed for the trial, which is expected to become the longest perjury case in Scottish legal history.
Sheridan's QC, Margaret Scott, said on a previous occasion that it was "wholly unrealistic" for the trial to proceed in February as originally planned.
The couple, who deny having lied to the courts, sat close together in the dock at the High Court in Edinburgh throughout a preliminary hearing in their case.
The first charge against the former MSP alleges that he admitted to a 2004 meeting of the executive committee of the Scottish Socialist Party that he had attended a swingers' club in Manchester on two occasions.
It is claimed that, knowing accurate minutes of the meeting existed and had been lodged with the court, he tried to get witness Colin Fox to claim that the minutes of the meeting were not accurate.
The second charge against Sheridan alleges that he made various false statements when he was a witness in the civil defamation action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on 21 July, 2006.
Mrs Sheridan is accused of making false statements when she was a witness in the 2006 case.