Campaign to overturn election of Alistair Carmichael lodges petition in Court of Session

Campaigners trying to overturn the election of Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, Alistair Carmichael, have lodged a petition at the Court of Session.

Following Mr Carmichael’s admission he was responsible for a memo suggesting that Nicola Sturgeon wanted David Cameron to be returned to office following the general election, there have been calls for him to resign.

A crowdfunded campaign – “The People versus Carmichael” – has raised over £51,000 so far.

It was established by Fiona MacInnes and Tim Morrison, both of whom live in Orkney.

The petition was presented by Jonathan Mitchell QC to Lord Uist  (pictured) who made an order for Mr Carmichael to be notified of the petition.

Mr Morrison said: “I’m a voter from Stromness in Orkney and one of the four petitioners asking the Court of Session to request the result of the general election in our constituency to be examined.

“Everyone has an opinion on what happened and what Mr Carmichael has done or not done, but we ordinary voters want to have our say now that we are in full possession of the facts.”

The memo stated that Ms Sturgeon told the French ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, that she would prefer the Conservatives to remain in power following the general election. Both the First Minister and Ms Berman denied this.

Following a Cabinet Office inquiry into the matter, it transpired that Mr Carmichael had authorised the leaking of the memo to the media after having initially denied this on Channel 4 News.

He apologised, saying he “could and should have stopped the sharing of the memo”.

Mr Morrison said: “Mr Carmichael has apologised to us, his constituents. It’s up to us to forgive him if we choose to in the ballot box. This should happen as soon as possible and certainly not in five years.

“We would like Alistair Carmichael to stand down, that’s clear from this process, but we want him to stand down so that, if he wants it, if the courts consider him fit, he can have the second chance. But it’s up to us, the people, to give it to him.”

Party officials have said Mr Carmichael will not face any disciplinary proceedings.

The police have received a complaint and the parliamentary standards commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, is considering the MP’s conduct.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Inquiries are continuing in consultation with the Crown Office, to whom we will report our findings.”