The people behind the crowdfunding campaign for the legal case to hold Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael accountable for his behaviour before, during and after the 2015 General Election campaign have thanked the thousands of donors who helped surpass the £60,000 target.
A total of £61,448 was donated over the month that The People Versus Carmichael fundraiser was on Indiegogo. Representing 102% of the target, the cash came from 3,968 individuals – averaging approximately £15.50 each.
The fundraiser, to allow the legal case under the Representation of the People Act 1983, closed just before the news came that the first stage of the case, which is being defended by the Liberal Democrat MP, will be called at the Court of Session next week.
A “by order” hearing will be held in Edinburgh on Thursday by Lady Paton. This is a hearing of a case called by the court and not on motion by either of the involved parties.
The People Versus Carmichael group want the election result in the Orkney and Shetland constituency overturned after Carmichael, who was Scottish Secretary at the time, leaked and then lied about a memo claiming that Nicola Sturgeon would like to see David Cameron returned to Downing Street.
Legal arguments are likely to be heard on Thursday on the procedural aspects of the case, and a date could be set for a full hearing.
A spokesman for The People Versus Carmichael said: “We have been overwhelmed not just by the level of financial support that we have received but with the messages of support that have come from Orkney and Shetland, all over the UK and from abroad.
“We knew that a significant amount of money needed to be raised quickly to make the action possible as with all legal cases there is no guarantee of winning. However there is also a comprehensive programme in place for distribution of any unused funds to Scottish food bank charities.
“We await with interest the outcome of the first stage of the case.
“It is clear from the widespread support that we have had, and continue to have, that this campaign goes far beyond any political party, and is backed by residents of Orkney and Shetland who are disappointed in the behaviour of their MP and want our politics conducted honestly and without smears.”
The group also said that the silent protests in front of St Magnus Cathedral had been ended in part due to the risks supporters were facing, with one person having apparently lost their job due to their support of the campaign.
The spokesman said: “We were even being told that a peaceful demonstration was bad for the tourist trade. We are standing up for freedom of speech in small communities and call on everyone who participates in this debate to remember that we live in a democracy.”
Contributions are still being accepted the campaign – all excess funds raised will go to food banks in Scotland. Contribute here.