Thomas (Tommy) Sheridan

1964 -

Tommy Sheridan MSP
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Tommy Sheridan MSP

Infamous poll tax campaigner and founder of the Scottish Socialist Party. Born in Pollok (Glasgow), Sheridan was educated St Monica's Primary School and Lourdes Secondary in Glasgow. He read Economics and Politics at Stirling University, graduating in 1985.

Sheridan came to prominence as the leader of protests against the community charge (or 'poll tax') which Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government introduced to replace the system of household rates. He actively campaigned against warrant sales, which publicly sold a householder's possessions to pay tax arrears. Sheridan was jailed for six months, but while in Edinburgh's Saughton Prison, was elected to Glasgow City Council representing the Pollok ward. He was a founder of the Scottish Socialist Party in 1999, becoming its leader, and was elected as a member of the Scottish Parliament in the same year, representing Glasgow. He is remembered for his refusal to take the oath of allegiance to the Queen on taking up his seat.

Sheridan is known as a passionate conviction-politician who is demonised by some and lauded by others. He is also noted for giving away half of his salary, preferring to live on the wage of an ordinary working person.

Spectacular electoral success came in 2003, when Sheridan's Party returned six members to parliament, including himself. He resigned as party convenor in November 2004, when about to become a father and determined to ensure the Scottish Socialists shed their image as a one-man band.

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