FIREBRAND left-winger Tommy Sheridan has announced he is ‘stepping aside’ from the leadership of the party he founded 10 years ago.
Mr Sheridan said he was quitting the post of co-convener of Solidarity to “make more time to concentrate on bringing down Rupert Murdoch and his News Group Newspapers empire”.
I am stepping aside as co-convener to make more time to concentrate on bringing down Rupert Murdoch and his News Group Newspapers empireTommy Sheridan
The former MSP, who failed in his bid to return to Holyrood in the May elections, founded Solidarity in 2006, after a libel case he brought against the now defunct News Of The World exposed deep divisions within the Scottish Socialist Party.
An all members meeting of Solidarity in Glasgow accepted Mr Sheridan’s decision, with Pat Lee, a councillor in South Lanarkshire, elected to replace him as co-convener until the party’s conference in October.
Mr Sheridan said: “I am not standing down, I am stepping aside. Tony Benn relinquished his seat in the House of Parliament in order to concentrate on politics. I am stepping aside as co-convener to make more time to concentrate on bringing down Rupert Murdoch and his News Group Newspapers empire.
“I will clear my name and expose the lies told about me in court and in News Group Newspapers. I will not rest until News Group Newspapers is exposed as a thoroughly criminal organisation.”
Mr Sheridan won £200,000 after his legal action against the News Of The World in 2006, but in 2011 he was sentenced to three years in jail after being convicted of lying during the libel case.
He was released from prison in 2012 after spending a year behind bars.
Mr Sheridan will continued to serve as a regional organiser for Solidarity in Glasgow and will retain his seat on the party’s executive committee.
Solidarity co-convener Rosemary Byrne continues in her role.