Carmichael staying put as Northern Isles MP, he says
Alistair Carmichael has vowed to remain as MP for the isles despite widespread calls for him to step down after he admitted leaking a private memo in a bid to smear First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Just three weeks after narrowly retaining his seat by a massively reduced majority of just 817, Mr Carmichael has insisted he will not bow to pressure to give up his Orkney and Shetland seat, and will stand on his record within Westminster over the last 14 years.
However, local SNP convener Robbie McGregor has called on the Liberal Democrats to condemn the former Scottish Secretary’s behaviour.
Mr Carmichael’s political career has been hanging in the balance since news broke that he authorised the leak of a private memo from Ms Sturgeon to the French ambassador. The First Minister was said to have claimed she preferred David Cameron as Prime Minister over Ed Miliband.
Both she and the French ambassador have since insisted the conversation did not take place, despite claims in the national media that the memo leaked was an accurate reflection of the conversation which took place.
“I’ve said already I very much regret the position I am in but I have been member of parliament for Orkney and Shetland for the last 14 years,” Mr Carmichael said.
“I’ve worked hard for local people and believe that’s the record on which I am entitled to rely, and that’s the job I am now going to be getting on with. None of that has changed.”
Around 40 people marched through Lerwick on Saturday calling on Mr Carmichael to stand down. A similar demonstration was also staged in Kirkwall. Thousands have already signed petitions calling for him to leave office.
Many are angry that Mr Carmichael claimed he had no knowledge of the leak when questioned by reporters, responding with the now oft-quoted phrase “these things happen”.
In a letter to The Shetland Times, Mr McGregor stated that SNP members felt “very aggrieved” by the MP.
He wrote: “We spent a considerable amount of time and effort on the campaign and now feel that not only was a dirty trick deployed but a lie was concocted to cover up responsibility for it. We feel cheated by methods that are totally non-Shetland or typical of the people who live here.”
Mr McGregor said an apology was due by the MP to the people of Shetland.
“I await comment from the Lib Dem MSPs and the local party and their condemnation of Mr Carmichael’s behaviour,” he added. “If nothing is forthcoming I will assume that they condone his actions.”