Tommy Sheridan perjury trial: Witness 'knew nothing of hotel party'

A WITNESS in Tommy Sheridan's perjury trial was told by a News of the World journalist that the politician had hosted a party at a hotel with women "invited for his pleasure", a court heard today.

• Gail and Tommy Sheridan arrive at court today. Picture: PA

Matthew McColl was giving evidence for the second day at the trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

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He was read a transcript of a conversation he had with journalist Douglas Wight in his car in 2005.

The court heard Mr Wight was secretly recording the conversation, in which he told Mr McColl that the newspaper believed Sheridan and "a footballer" had also had sex with a prostitute, and that McColl had arranged for the women to come and had booked the room.

Mr McColl told him: "I don't know anything about this."

The former MSP and his wife Gail, both 46, deny lying under oath during his successful defamation action against the News of the World newspaper in 2006.

The action followed the newspaper's claims that Sheridan was an adulterer who visited swinger's clubs.

Mr Sheridan won 200,000 in damages after the newspapers printed the allegations about his private life.

The indictment against Sheridan contains the charge that he lied at the action, saying there was no event at the hotel on the night of June 14 2002.

Mr McColl also denied that he had ever had sex with a woman called Beverley Dickson, who had travelled up from Birmingham for the evening.

The court heard she told the police she had had a casual sexual relationship with the business consultant, and had slept with him at the Moat House hotel in Glasgow the night before a wedding.

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He suggested she may have had "an agenda" for telling the police he had collected her from Glasgow airport in a black limousine with a bottle of champagne but he did not know what her motives would be.

He said: "I like the idea but that didn't happen. I didn't have sex with Beverley Dixon in the Moat House hotel."

Mr McColl also said the fact that he was in a relationship with the woman who later became his wife and the mother of his child would be "a great reason to lie" about having sex with Ms Dixon.

He said: "It would be a great reason to tell a lie and I'm sure lies have been told about that already."

The trial, before Lord Bracadale, continues.