Boxing Clever

All these reports, and not a single mention of whether they were tartan, M&S, a Christmas tree pattern or plain, starched white.

'They' being, of course, the boxer shorts that Scottish News of the World editor, Bob Bird, is said to have stripped down to, in pursuit of a scoop involving former Scottish Socialist Party leader, Tommy Sheridan.

So, while the BBC and the Daily Record are among many to have reported, over the weekend, the events leading up to the reported strip, they stop short of disclosing more – as it were.

Sheridan is on trial following his court victory over the News of the World, four years ago, after it published claims about his private life. Both he and his wife, Gail, are accused of having perjured themselves in winning £200,000 defamation damages from the newspaper.

But at the High Court in Glasgow, a former colleague of Sheridan – George McNeilage – talked of a video tape he had secretly recorded, said to include Sheridan admitting to the claims. 

So, when Bird arrived at McNeilage's home to view and purchase the tape, the court heard how he had to first strip to ensure that he wasn’t wearing 'a wire'.

In a scene reminiscent of a Hollywood espionage thriller, McNeilage is reported saying that, upon arrival, Bird was greeted by a sign that read: 'Don’t speak, take your clothes off.'

McNeilage is reported to have then told the trial: “I had the News of the World editor standing in my living room in his boxer shorts. It was just a bizarre situation.”

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