Friday, 29 May 2015

Deeper Water for Memo Leak MP

Alistair Carmichael to face legal

action over Frenchgate memo leak

Alistair Carmichael, Scottish Secretary, Quality news image uploaded March 31 2015
Campaigners vying to oust MP Alistair Carmichael over a controversial leaked memo have submitted an election petition at the Court of Session.
The People Vs Alistair Carmichael, a non-political group, have raised the legal action in a bid to overturn the MP's election victory in Orkney and Shetland in the wake of the 'Frenchgate' revelations after raising more than £40,000 through a crowdfunding website.
The campaign, backed by island residents, wants to hold Mr Carmichael "accountable for his behaviour before, during and after the election campaign".
Mr Carmichael has admitted responsibility for the memo, leaked just days before the general election, which wrongly alleged that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wanted David Cameron to remain in power.
The Orkney and Shetland MP, who previously denied any knowledge of the memo, has since apologised to both Ms Sturgeon and the French ambassador to the UK after a Cabinet Office investigation into the leak concluded he "could and should have stopped the sharing of the memo".
Meanwhile, Mr Carmichael, who narrowly held onto his seat by 817 votes, has rejected calls to step down while the Scottish Lib Dems say he will face no disciplinary action.
A crowdfunding campaign, calling for "honesty in politics", was started on Tuesday by Orkney-based campaigner and writer Fiona MacInnes.

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The campaign aims to raise £60,000 for legal fees. On Friday it was sitting at £43,000, easily surpassing the £6000 required to lodge the petition within the allotted 21-day period following an election.
The petition was submitted to the Petitions Department of the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Friday.
Ms MacInnes said: "We are totally overwhelmed with the whole thing, the speed of it all - we jammed the website when it first went up.
"Minute by minute people are putting in what they can, with people from all over Scotland recognising this issue isn't just local - it is much bigger than that."
She added that the money raised on the crowdfunding website has gone towards launching the petition, as well as ongoing legal costs following that.
She said: "The funding is related to the costs of legal action under the Representation of the People's Act - which isn't free and costs a substantial amount of money.
"The first hurdle for us to pass is around £5000-£6000 to take up a legal petition over it. The people taking forward this are regular constituents who are taking the financial responsibility, and we just don't have this money on our own.
"We have now funded enough for that, but then we have to buy legal representation, which again is a significant amount."

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Ms MacInnes added: "We have to have the petition signed and got to Edinburgh by the deadline tomorrow [Friday] - with our lawyers having only three days to have it drafted up.
"If we raise more money than we need to then we plan give the excess money to food banks across Scotland.
"Equally, as in any legal issue the case could be thrown out after the petition, therefore we would give the money to food banks then also."
On Tuesday, police revealed they had received a complaint over the leaked memo and are investigating the matter.
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "A complaint was made and police inquiries are ongoing to establish if there is any criminality."

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