Jean has this afternoon condemned Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael for failing to admit to his responsibility for the now infamous leaked ‘memo’ which falsely accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of favouring David Cameron to be Prime Minister.
The false memo was leaked following a meeting between the Scottish First Minister and the French Ambassador. Both Ms Sturgeon and the Ambassador rejected the memo’s version of events, which said Ms Sturgeon would prefer a government led by David Cameron and stated that she did not think Ed Milliband was ‘of prime minister material’.
The memo was later found to have been leaked by the Scottish Office during the election campaign – when the Government was in purdah. Speaking at the time, the then-Scottish Secretary Mr Carmichael dismissed the leak, saying ‘These things happen from time to time.’
His admission this afternoon comes after an official Cabinet Office inquiry found that Mr Carmichael’s adviser leaked the document under direction from the Scottish Secretary.
Speaking from Shetland following Mr Carmichael’s statement, in which he described the matter as an ‘error of judgement’, Jean said:
“Mr Carmichael’s actions go far beyond a simple ‘error of judgement’ – this was a calculated and deeply cynical attempt to undermine the integrity of Scotland’s First Minister during the election campaign.
It was a deliberate attack on a fellow politician and this incident seriously calls into question Mr Carmichael’s fitness to continue as MP for Orkney and Shetland.
Politics is all about best judgement and integrity, and he has failed his constituents on both counts – by leaking the memo in the first place, and then by delaying his admission of guilt until after the election. Mr Carmichael is the Liberal Democrats’ ‘last man standing’ in Scotland – but only as a result of intentionally deceiving them about his role in this under-handed attempt to undermine Nicola Sturgeon.
Working in Shetland this afternoon I have spoken to a number of residents, and they are shocked and appalled by Mr Carmichael’s behaviour.
He has said he considers that this would be a matter which, had he still been in cabinet, would have required his resignation as a Minister. In my view, had Mr Carmichael continued to be part of the government post-election, this may never have come to light. It is exactly this kind of cover up in so many aspects of the Westminster bubble that the majority of the people of Shetland and Scotland voted against.
It is incredible that he believes he can continue to represent the constituents he has openly misled.”