Standards probe into Alistair Carmichael’s actions dropped

A parliamentary standards investigation into isles MP Alistair Carmichael over the run-up to last year’s general election has been dropped.

Alistair Carmichael.
Alistair Carmichael.

Standards commissioner Kathryn Hudson says the conduct of the former Scottish Secretary falls outwith her remit – because Mr Carmichael’s actions did not take place during his parliamentary activities.

Mr Carmichael came under intense scrutiny last year following a narrow 817-vote election victory against SNP candidate Danus Skene, who is now standing for the nationalist party in the Holyrood elections.

Prior to the Westminster poll Mr Carmichael had appeared in a Channel 4 News interview, where he denied being involved in the leaking of a memo to The Daily Telegraph, which suggested First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would have preferred to see David Cameron return to 10 Downing Street after the election.

It was only after the vote that Mr Carmichael admitted he had, in fact, sanctioned the leak through a special adviser.

A landmark case was subsequently brought to the rarely held Elections Court in Edinburgh by four of Mr Carmichael’s Orkney constituents.

The case was held under the terms of the Representation of the People Act (1983).

But judges sided with Mr Carmichael’s argument that the lies he told did not relate to his personal character or conduct – although they described his approach as being “at best disingenuous, at worst evasive”.

In her ruling, Ms Hudson said: “The evidence that was given to the election court, together with the enquiries I have made, have subsequently shown that the special adviser and Mr Carmichael received the memorandum disclosed to The Daily Telegraph through official Scotland Office channels.

“Since Mr Carmichael did not receive the information in the course of his parliamentary activities, the allegations concerning his decision to authorise its disclosure fall outside my remit.”

In a statement, Mr Carmichael said: “I am pleased that this is now resolved and will continue to focus on getting on with my job as MP for Orkney and Shetland.”


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