Tommy Sheridan ‘would consider’ new union party

FORMER Scottish Socialist leader Tommy Sheridan has said he would “consider” backing a new trade union based left wing party in the aftermath of Labour’s row with the unions over a candidate selection in Falkirk.

Tommy Sheridan, pictured at the 2012 Glasgow council election count. Picture: Robert Perry
Tommy Sheridan, pictured at the 2012 Glasgow council election count. Picture: Robert Perry

The call comes after calls from rail workers union leader Bob Crow said the unions should launch a left wing breakaway party from Labour. Mr Sheridan also said he would getting more heavily involved in the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign in the next year having up until now devoted his time to campaigning against the Bedroom Tax.

The former SSP leader attacked the SNP’s model of independence as he backed Yes campaign chairman Dennis Canavan’s call for the abolition of the monarchy. He also said there should be an in-out vote on whether an independent Scotland is a European Union member as he accused the SNP of promoting member of a “free market club” .

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Mr Sheridan said Solidarity - the left wing party he still leads - would consider becoming part of a new broader trade union and labour movement based party. The former Glasgow MSP’s call came in the wake of Labour leader Ed Miliband asking the police to investigate the party in Falkirk over allegations that the Unite union attempted to manipulate the selection of a candidate.

Mr Sheridan said: “Any Socialist grouping worth its salt would have to consider backing a new trade union based party.

”Miliband’s attempts to Blairise his leadership of the Labour Party have been clumsy and are a form of political suicide.

“The ball is now firmly in the unions’ court and the formation of a new trade union based party is more of an issue.”

Mr Sheridan’s backing for abolition of the monarchy and a vote on EU membership comes over 18 months after he was released from jail after serving a year of a jail term for perjury. He said: “The question of a modern democratic republic has to be addressed soon after a vote for independence and I support Dennis’s intervention 100 per cent.

“This type of debate energises the Yes campaign and will interest 16 year and 17 year old voters who can vote in the referendum. “The worst thing we could do is to ignore this issue.

“But the membership of the EU that the SNP leadership wants for an independent Scotland also needs to be debated.

“The EU is a free market club and in a post referendum independent Scotland, membership of this is a fundamental question that needs to be addressed.”