Women once called "scabs" by Tommy Sheridan for giving evidence against him in his defamation trial against the News Of The World are warning those going to the Hope Over Fear rally not to fall for his new bid to gather support.

No-one from the fast-growing Women For Independence is sharing the platform with him today - in fact, many members, including Carolyn Leckie, Rosie Kane and Natalie McGarry, refuse ever to share a platform with him. Leckie and Kane were among those he accused of being liars and collaborators after he won his initial defamation case. They were also among the many witnesses who testified to having heard him say he had visited a swinger's club in the subsequent perjury case which led to his jail conviction.

Kane said she had managed "for the best part of several years" to retain a "fairly dignified silence". But now, after hearing every day "about how amazing Tommy is", she finds that the creation of Hope Over Fear has turned her "into some sort of political Tasmanian devil".

She advised those who attend the rally to "keep an open mind" and to "do your homework ... Try to understand that Tommy is a divisive and manipulative character. By all means go along, but don't for a minute imagine that this is an open, inclusive and friendly event. This is ego at its most manipulative."

Her concern is that many people, particularly younger people, were not party to the "ins and outs in the media" around ­Sheridan's court cases. "Some," she said, "may be lucky enough to have missed out on what happened. And it's because I now see people walking up that road again, I have to say something. His intentions are not about Yes, or democracy, or about political movements. Whether it's bedroom tax, or this, the movement is just a vehicle for Tommy."

Carolyn Leckie said she was reluctant to talk about Sheridan, but it was necessary to "challenge the received wisdom ... People are very confused and mixed up".

She said: "I feel a responsibility because the truth does need to be told and people need to understand the situation. I'm hearing he's launching a new party. My concern is that he leads people up a path that's totally based on his own ego. I don't think it does help us strategically go forward."

Leckie added: "People have accused us of not being able to let it go. But it's Tommy that won't let it go. He persists on protesting his innocence. I believe in rehabilitation but you need to take responsibility in the first place and he still persists in saying that we conspired and plotted, and that we're guilty of quite monstrous crimes."

She was, she said, concerned for people who might be "persuaded by his oratory, his demagoguery, his public speaking and YouTube videos". Leckie encouraged them "to find out a bit more and just remember there are other people involved who have been negatively affected. It's not just about him."

Natalie McGarry, convener of the SNP in Glasgow, also said that earlier this year she had dropped out of an event because she found out she would be sharing a platform with Sheridan.