Carmichael will face parliamentary investigation

Parliamentary Standards commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, has launched a formal inquiry into the isles MP’s Alistair Carmichael’s involvement over a leaked memo.

Mr Carmichael, who narrowly won the Orkney and Shetland seat in last month’s General Election, has faced repeated calls for him to stand down after he admitted authorising the leak of a private memo to smear the First Minister.

Alistair Carmichael gives his acceptance speech after being returned as MP. Photo: Rosalind Griffiths
MP Alistair Carmichael will be investigated by the Parliamentary Standards commissioner. Photo: Rosalind Griffiths

The memo, written by a Scotland Office civil servant, was a third-hand account of a conversation between Nicola Sturgeon and the French ambassador. It suggested Ms Sturgeon would prefer David Cameron over then Labour leader Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. The First Minister and the ambassador both insisted this was not the case.

Mr Carmichael is now being investigated under the terms of paragraphs 10, 14 and 16 of the code of conduct for MPs.

These are:

• Section 10: Members shall base their conduct on a consideration of the public interest, avoid conflict between personal interest and the public interest and resolve any conflict between the two, at once, and in favour of the public interest.
• Section 14: Information which members receive in confidence in the course of their parliamentary duties should be used only in connection with those duties. Such information must never be used for the purpose of financial gain.
• Section 16: Members shall never undertake any action which would cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, or of its members generally.

It comes after this weekend’s protest at the Market Cross in Lerwick. Campaigners calling for Mr Carmichael to stand down have also launched a challenge against the election result at the Court of Session, after raising more than £50,000 to help finance the bold legal move.

Member of the group The People versus Carmichael, Orkney man Tim Morrison, flew to Edinburgh on Friday to put forward the paperwork which, he hopes, will support the argument in favour of a by-election being held in the Northern Isles.

His journey came after campaigners raised over £50,000 to finance the legal argument, following a rush of online donations.

“We wouldn’t be pushing this forward if our Advocate didn’t think we have a strong case,” Mr Morrison said.

“It would have been struck down immediately in the Court of Session if they thought it was inappropriate.”

Mr Carmichael was not available for comment. Scottish Lib Dem spokesman, Adam Clarke, said: “Alistair Carmichael will cooperate with the investigation. He has accepted responsibility, apologised and declined his ministerial severance payment.  He is now getting on with his job – working for the people of Orkney and Shetland.”


Add Your Comment
  • Charlie Gallagher

    • June 3rd, 2015 14:38

    At this sad time on the untimely death of Charlie Kennedy, a thoroughly decent, honest, upstanding and highly principled Highland Gentleman we should all put our partisan party politics in abeyance until the poor chap is laid to rest. Instead let’s all send our condolances to his son Donald, ex-wife Sarah and the rest of Charlie’s family. Charlie, one of the good ones, RIP.

    • joe johnson

      • June 3rd, 2015 16:12

      R.I.P Charles Kennedy. Will be missed. Thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.

    • David Howell

      • June 4th, 2015 12:33

      I wholeheartedly agree with those sentiments.

      It’s a shame that some unionists are using this tragic event as just another opportunity to “bash” the SNP.

      Shameless conduct on their part.

      RIP Charles Kennedy – a man of principle from the left of centre political ground; you will be missed.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 4th, 2015 17:13

        David Howell, Unionists do not need to use any event to find an opportunity to bash the SNP, the opportunities are ten fold and offer themselves on a regular basis. The SNP government’s reputation for incompetence – mismanagement, poor planning, disastrous centralisation and the obsessive need to meddle and control are numerous. Now here’s another serious bashing on their management of the Scottish NHS:-

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 4th, 2015 19:21

        Oh my goodness here is a bit more Unionist SNP bashing except it is students protesting about the education system forced on them by the SNPs curriculum of excrement.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 4th, 2015 20:05

        Oh I nearly forgot about the demands for full fiscal autonomy leading up to the general election and then the 360 degree turn post general election.
        Opportunities are falling out of the sky to enable unionists to bash the SNP.

      • David Howell

        • June 5th, 2015 14:09

        In response to Gordon Harmer:

        Funny then, how the SNP seem to be so popular with over half of the electorate in Scotland who voted for them.
        I don’t see that kind of mandate for any of the unionist parties, do you?

        I think what we are witnessing here from you, is the impotent anger of those who cannot come to terms with the fact that their “entitlement to rule” has been questioned and subsequently removed by the majority of the Scottish people.

        I think you need to get used to this fact.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 5th, 2015 19:29

        And the fact you need to get hold of Mr Howell, is that only 35% of the electorate voted for the SNP, 65% did not. I agree it is funny even 35% of the electorate voted for the SNP with such a poor track record. I don’t think 35% of the electorate affords even the SNP with a mandate even though they seem to think that 37% of the electorate who voted yes in the referendum gives them a mandate to pursue a neverendum . Instead of misquoting electoral percentages how about you try and defend the three failures I just bashed the SNP with.

      • James Watt

        • June 6th, 2015 7:27

        “And the fact you need to get hold of Mr Howell, is that only 35% of the electorate voted for the SNP, 65% did not”

        And of those 65% that did not, only 10% voted Conservative, 90% of the Scottish electorate did not vote for a Conservative government, 24% of the UK electorate voted Conservative, 76% did not.
        After looking at those facts I’m left wondering, if the SNP doesn’t have a mandate in a Scotland then who does? And if 35% doesn’t give the SNP a mandate in Scotland, logically 24% doesn’t give the Conservatives a mandated throughout the UK, that must mean its undemocratic for the Tories to impose any of their policies on us, so can you defend the £120M cut to the Scottish budget announced this week.

        And you haven’t really bashed the SNP with your links either, the 3rd one in particular is from a site that is so partisan that it would make Wings over Scotland look neutral, so I can dismiss the content in the same manner you would dismiss a link to a pro independence site.
        The NHS link is about the problems of the target culture, which is a UK wide issue and was introduced long before the SNP came to power. The Hebridean school kids are certainly not protesting at the SNP as you suggest, the SNP is being asked to help find a solution to a problem of viability for certain subjects in small schools.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 6th, 2015 16:57

        If you had kept up with the debate you would know I support PR for a voting system so I will ignore your first comments.
        The cuts to the Scottish budget will make no difference to how we live as the £444 million underspend and the average underspend for several years on the trot more than cover the cuts. In case you have not noticed the country has maxed out on credit and what any sane person does when you have no credit left is make cuts.
        You cannot deny Sturgeon has done a massive U turn on FFA who ever I chose to use a link from.
        The SNP could have done away with a target culture but did not, instead they introduced more targets, so no argument there then.
        The Hebridean school kids are protesting about what they are having to do because of the curriculum of excrement, which was introduced by, believe it or not the SNP.
        School report for James Watt, could do better, needs to pay attention and stick to facts not fiction; sorry James a massive fail to you and David Howell.

      • DavidHowwll

        • June 7th, 2015 17:57

        Could you cite the source of your “only 35% of the electorate voted for the SNP”?

        This is from the BBC website:

        Quote: “the SNP won a 50% share of the vote in Scotland, Labour won just 24.3%”.

        I take it you’re familiar with percentages and how they work?

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 8th, 2015 5:50

        David, 50% of the vote is not what you said in your first comment it was “half of the electorate in Scotland”, the electorate being every person in Scotland with a vote, there is a big difference. You seem to be the one who has a misunderstanding of percentages and meaning of electorate, along with a propensity to try and spin your way out of a schoolboy error.

      • David Howell

        • June 8th, 2015 12:07

        LOL Well, Gordon . . . and how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin then? :o)

        I think the majority of folk will have understood perfectly well what was meant by my comments; the fact that you chose the most obscure translation is rather more to do with your own “issues” with the SNP, which is clear from reading your comments here; trying desperately to smoke-screen the lying of your LibDem MP.

        The legal fighting fund to bring him to book is now at £58K of its £60K target with 19 days to go . . . squeaky bum time for Aliestair, I think. ;o)

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 8th, 2015 13:13

        A novel way of admitting you are wrong David, but hey I expected nothing else from someone who is advocating a waste of £60K when there are people in desperate need in this country. It says so much about you and those who are part of your cause.

      • David Howell

        • June 8th, 2015 15:09

        I’m happy to let other decide from the content of our exchange, as to who is “correct” and who needs “correction”. ;o)

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 8th, 2015 16:43

        Well, David you are the one who made the “howler” making it an easy decision. 😉

  • John Tulloch

    • June 3rd, 2015 21:34


    Much as I hate to interrupt your emotional SNP eulogy for Charles Kennedy, may I draw your attention to the current top line of the “Yes Shetland Community” page:

    “Yes Shetland
    26 May at 12:46 ·
    The People v Carmichael
    Time for the electorate to decide if a lying politician who wasted £1.4m should represent them in Westminster.”

    The date, presumably, refers to when it was posted, I copied it from the website this evening (3rd, June).

    We know that the claim about “wasting £1.4 million” of taxpayers’ money is false, a “LIE”. Will you now condemn the online publication of this “LIE”?

  • iantinkler

    • June 4th, 2015 19:27

    Charlie Gallagher, David Howell, “We the People of Shetland”, the SNP, et al, If you all would truly like to offer your sympathy to the family, friends and party of the late Charles Kennedy, just write to them, as most sincere people would do.. You do not need to post your pious platitudes in “The Times” or any paper for that mater. Otherwise many will see you as publicity seeking and little more. Maximizing your platitudes for publicity benefit is perhaps, not a good nor very sincere move.

  • iantinkler

    • June 6th, 2015 9:20

    James Watt, believe it or not Scotland is still part of the UK. The number of votes UK wide the SNP scraped was far less than UKIP. Now Salmond blew the referendum, Scotland voted to stay in the UK. One day that may be reversed, but that day has not come, and may never come. Get over it and quit your moaning, it is really a bit tiresome. Scotland is part of the UK, get over it.

    • James Watt

      • June 6th, 2015 13:05

      “Get over it and quit your moaning, it is really a bit tiresome”

      If only you’d take some of your own advice Ian. Because it isn’t me who cant go a day without mentioning the SNP, the referendum or Alex Salmond.
      Maybe you could comment on what I did write though and let me know your feelings on the Conservatives having a mandate on only 24% of the electorates vote or the recent cuts to Scotland’s budget?

      • Robin Stevenson

        • June 6th, 2015 19:58

        I fear, that’s a bit unkind James?…. What on earth would poor Ian, John, Gordon et al…Do with themselves if they weren’t having their daily dig at anything to do with the SNP?…In fact, they’ve turned it into an art form where an unrelated story is magically transformed into the SNPs fault.

        Without their “SNP BaaaD” mantra this forum would simply be far too ..erm…sensible….Now, we couldn’t have that surely?…. And deny them of their obsession?

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 7th, 2015 9:13

        Probably the same reason that the SNP with 44% of the vote and only 23% of the electorate, claim to have a mandate to do as they wish in Scotland.
        Its called democracy, because we all had a chance a few years ago to change the electoral system but let that chance go, and we in Scotland were included in the vote.
        So follow your own rules and stop moaning, it is becoming a bit tiresome.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • June 8th, 2015 15:39

        Huh!…where are you getting your imaginary figures from gordon? The SNP got 50% of the vote in Scotland NOT 35%? Of the entire voting electorate they received 50%, I have no idea where you come up with 23%? Unless ofc you’re using those that didn’t vote or the dead? In which case you are I have no way of telling how they’d have voted?
        We did change the rules in Scotland? That’s why the SG use a form of PR rather than the antiquated FPTP favoured by the UK Gov? Our voting system is far fairer and far more “Democratic”
        You’re last sentence is beyond me, I have absolutely No idea what you’re talking about?

      • Steven Jarmson

        • June 8th, 2015 20:01

        And the voting system for the Scottish Parliament was introduced by….
        …Labour, to much SNP anger.
        I remember distinctly the rage of the SNP leadership because in their view the system was designed to force Scotland to have coalition government, which would have, at the time, looked like the SNP would never get a chance to govern as none of the other parties would countenance coalition with them.
        Unfortunately, for some reason people seem think the SNP are a good idea when it comes to voting, but then, if you live in the Central belt and you see all the power and money being sucked into that area then it probably is something you would welcome. If you live in a place like Shetland see you’re £10M housing debt grant going missing, you see your local NHS under-funded by £19M (I think that was the number) and you get lumbered with “SNP mates rates” for life-line services, how on earth could you think voting SNP is a good idea.
        We’ll have armed police on the street next, oh, that’s right, they’ve already allowed that in the Highlands, just a tiny step until it happens it the Islands.
        How can you think the SNP are so great when we have no 24hr police service where we can report crimes?
        Just these little things that thinking people consider when it comes to voting.

      • Tom Jones

        • June 8th, 2015 21:27

        In the General Election 1,454,436 of Scots voted for the SNP out of an electorate of 4,094,784 in Scotland, which is 25% of the vote.

      • Tom Jones

        • June 8th, 2015 21:36

        Sorry, 35%

  • iantinkler

    • June 6th, 2015 20:16

    “the recent cuts to Scotland’s budget?” No worries, James Watt. Devolved tax raising powers are on the way. We will soon be able to tax our own, increased Scottish taxation, to pay for and reverse the cuts. O happy days, I am soon to retire, so your higher income tax will cover my increased pension and greater social benefits.

    • Gordon Harmer

      • June 7th, 2015 19:55

      Ian don’t forget about the lost revenue of the cancelled poll tax debt which Salmond gave back to his loyal yes voters, a whopping £425 million. That would have cancelled out the cuts in funding for a couple of years. The cuts in funding could be minimised if the SNP also cancelled the council tax freeze. The SNP are totally unaccountable and are afraid to make tough decisions in case the people see through them and they have to do something they cannot blame Westminster for.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • June 7th, 2015 23:26

        Ian, John and Gordon I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all in advance for making Alistair’s 10,000 majority a mere 817, the reason I say in “advance” is simply, by all your inane rantings of how bad the SNP are, you have succeeded in convincing the Orkney and Shetland electorate that they’d rather listen to what the SNP have to say than listen to all of your negative, whinging, mistruths, that all of you continuosly spout on a daily basis, had it not been for subjecting the good folk of these islands to a daily blast of nonsense I fear Alasdair Carmichael would have romped home uncontested….Please keep doing what you’re doing, after all 2016 isn’t too far away? 😉

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 8th, 2015 13:22

        Robin, you most definitely live in cloud cuckoo land if you think the three of us made a blind bit of difference to the election result, but hey thanks for the compliment as not even my two dogs usually listen to me.
        But lets be sure of one thing, a little fellow from Glasgow who would not know whether he was in Lerwick or Brae if he came here, means less to me than the emails, phone calls and personal messages I receive telling me to keep getting up your nose because of the tripe you write will ensure I will carry on writing.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • June 8th, 2015 16:41

        On having a second thought Robin and looking back at comments from before the election, you and others were predicting a landslide in Shetland for the SNP because of the polls indicating this result. That 817 majority according to your way of thinking was probably generated by me, Ian and John alerting the electorate to the dangers of voting SNP. Boy what power the pen or keypad does actually have, both in weeks past during the general election and the referendum where we won again. My, my I would never have thought of that if you had not put that train of thought in my head; thanks to you Robin, 😉

  • iantinkler

    • June 8th, 2015 9:39

    Think nothing of it Robin Stevenson, its all been my pleasure, however the 55% was not to far back either and that is the vote that mattered, for a whole generation, now get over it. After all 2016 is hardly going to alter anything in the scheme of things, now 2017 that is another story, be interested to see Nicola getting her knickers in a twist over that!! Perhaps she really, really, really will get legal advice for that one, without the lies, that would be novel! .


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