Members of the ‘Orkney Four,’ the petitioners in the recent case against Alistair Carmichael MP have written an open letter to Tim Farron today asking for the dismissal of Mr. Carmichael as party spokesperson and to have the whip removed.
Tim Morrison, lead petitioner, said,
‘As Mr. Carmichael is refusing to resign despite being found to have misled his constituents, we expect the leader of the Liberal Democrats to do what other party leaders have down in similar circumstances and disassociate himself from tactics, which although found to be within the law, were, according to the Court, at best disingenuous and at worst evasive and self-serving.”
If this does not happen his party will become a byword for dishonesty.’
The text of the letter
Tim Farron MP
House of Commons
Dear Mr. Farron,
as petitioners in the recent case against Alistair Carmichael MP we are writing to you to request that you dismiss him as Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Home Affairs and withdraw the party whip. This has happened to MPs in other parties whose behaviour has called into doubt the integrity of Parliament and have chosen not to resign.
Whilst not in breach of Section 106 of the Misrepresentation of the People Act 1983, the judges were satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that “ the false statement of fact was made for the purpose of affecting (positively) the return of the first respondent as a Liberal Democrat in the constituency of Orkney and Shetland.”
They then went to to say
“In evidence, the first respondent gave the impression that the timing of his admission was purely as a result of the rate of progress of the Cabinet Office inquiry. In our opinion however, the first respondent’s approach to the inquiry was at best disingenuous, at worst evasive and self-serving. We consider that he could and should have been straightforward and candid in his response to the inquiry. That would have been likely to reveal his involvement in the leak at some time prior to the election, so that his constituents, when voting, would have been “in full possession of the facts during the election” (in the third petitioner’s words, transcript 9 November 2015 page 20). It is our opinion that his failure to be straightforward and candid with the inquiry resulted from his hope that he would not be identified as being involved in the leak – preferably not identified at all, but at least not identified until after the election on 7 May 2015, as otherwise his chances of electoral success might be prejudicially affected.”
They also commented that his constituents were “justifiably shocked and dismayed at discovering that they had been so misled.”
We believe that the decent course is for him to resign and test his forgiveness in the ballot box. Until he does so he will continue to be, as he has been called in the Herald, ‘a political pariah.’
If he choses not to resign and unless you take action, no one, anywhere, can be expected to believe any statement made by your party and its candidates in any election.
Fiona M Grahame