Scotland politics

Tavish Scott says Alistair Carmichael faces 'long road to recovery'

Alistair Carmichael Image copyright PA
Image caption Alistair Carmichael has faced calls to resign

Alistair Carmichael faces a "long road to recovery" after the leaking of a memo about Nicola Sturgeon, according to a Liberal Democrat colleague.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said he felt "let down" by Mr Carmichael's actions.

However, he said his colleague should "walk that road" and continue as MP for Orkney and Shetland.

Mr Carmichael has faced calls to resign over the leak of the memo, which wrongly suggested that Ms Sturgeon wanted David Cameron as prime minister.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have said that Mr Carmichael will not face any disciplinary action, and he has also won the support of his local party.

'Very disappointed'

The SNP have been calling on Mr Carmichael - the only remaining Lib Dem MP in Scotland - to consider his position.

An official Cabinet Office inquiry found he approved the leak of an official memo by his special adviser to a newspaper during the campaign.

The document, written by a civil servant in the Scotland Office, claimed Scotland's First Minister told the French Ambassador to the UK that she would prefer Mr Cameron as prime minister rather than Ed Miliband - comments Ms Sturgeon has always insisted she never made.

Image caption Tavish Scott said many people felt let down

Mr Carmichael said the first he had heard of the memo was when he was contacted by a journalist.

He has since acknowledged that while he had not seen the document before it was published, he was aware of its content and agreed that it should be made public.

Mr Scott said on Wednesday that he was "very disappointed" by his colleague's actions.

'Political motivation'

He said: "We have worked together for 14 years for Shetland. People come to see both of us to solve problems. I too feel let down. No wonder many people across the islands do too.

"But Alistair's handling of this matter is not the Alistair I know."

He claimed there was a "political motivation" behind the calls for Mr Carmichael to resign.

And he added: "If he can demonstrate that he can get back to being a determined, effective local MP then people will accept that.

"Alistair has a long road to recovery with many people. But he should walk that road."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The parliamentary standards watchdog has received a number of complaints

The executive committee of Shetland Liberal Democrats held a meeting on Tuesday night to discuss Mr Carmichael's involvement.

In a statement, it said members had expressed "surprise and disappointment at Alistair's actions and his lack of judgment.

"However, the members agreed that Alistair has rightly taken full responsibility and has apologised to all concerned, not least to the people of Orkney and Shetland.

"The members agreed that Alistair is an excellent constituency MP.

"He has achieved much for Shetland in the last 14 years, particularly during his five years in government, where his experience and expertise were used to great benefit for the Northern Isles.

"He has reinforced his commitment to carry on representing this constituency, as he was elected to do, and he retains the full confidence of the executive."

The parliamentary standards commissioner has received a number of complaints about Mr Carmichael's conduct and is considering whether they fall within her remit.

A member of the public has made a complaint to Police Scotland, who said inquiries were being carried out to establish whether there had been any criminality.

Meanwhile, an online fundraising campaign has been launched to raise money for legal representation to seek to overturn the election result in the seat.

It has reached more than half of its £60,000 target.

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