Alistair Carmichael case rumbles on

Alistair Carmichael speech Jan 2014Today the Election Court will be sitting in Edinburgh to hear witnesses in the legal challenge, as we explained here. It is expected to carry on for 4 days. At the end of the process the court will report to the House of Commons, and any action will be decided by them.

The hearing will not be in public this time, apart from the summing up. Apparently tweeting has been banned.

Back in May, Alistair issued this statement.

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  • I fear the worst. Only an 800 majority.

  • This could open up the door to all sorts of challenges. One thing is sure, Corbyn and UKIP supporters will try anything they can to interfere with future election results, if the judges rule against our favour.

  • A Social Liberal 9th Nov '15 - 3:33pm

    Perhaps this will encourage candidates to tell the truth.

  • Agree with Social Liberal…. In football own goals do count. As to Mr Stimpson what on earth has Cornyn or UKIP got to do with it. ?

  • A Social Liberal 9th Nov '15 - 6:37pm

    I’m not really bothered about own goals in this context, I AM bothered about ethics in politics and Lib Dem politicians acting with honour.

  • Corbyn and UKIP supporters are always willing to cause disruption to further their own ends.

  • This is a situation that could have been avoided. What has sniggering at Corbyn got to do with this. Pathetic. Own your problems don’t reach out and strike at others.

  • Stimpson but all Alistair had to do was refrain from “untruthfulness” to use his own word. How can you blame others for that? If others capitalise on it, it is still Alistair’s responsibility for opening that door.

  • Mr Stimpson : to equate Jeremy Corbyn with UKIP is laughable. If anyone needs a lesson in democracy it is the chief of the defence staff who clearly overstepped the mark on Trident. The real movers and shakers in the Carmichael case are the SNP – and I’m sorry to say Mr Carmichael dug his own hole. To compound matters not one Lib Dem mp in the chamber during the Scotland Bill today.

  • Just to be clear what is involved here. AC, by his own admission, breached the ministerial code. The scale of his misconduct warranted resignation as a minister. Again his own admission. He did so to smear the reputation of the First Minister of Scotland and to further his, and his own party’ s political interests. Again by his own admission. He then lied on several occasions, in public, and on television. He only owned up when he was actually exposed. He tried to make a merit of owning up after being exposed. He should have resigned at the time. Since then there has been a catalogue of denial, deflection and political cynicism. It has hugely damaged the libdems and continues to do so. Why anyone would attempt to defend that is beyond me. An own goal? More like a hat trick.

  • David Howell 9th Nov ’15 – 10:29pm…………..I think Steve has summed it all up rather well…………

    I agree! Instead of turning moral somersault to ‘defend the indefensible’ we should be the one’s demanding his resignation….He has admitted he lied, or rather that It was an “act of untruthfulness”,

    This is the fist such case in Scotland in 50 years and we, as LibDems, are starring in it…..The longer this drags on the more detrimental it will be to our standing, especially in Scotland…

    Fighting a case, where the morality is clear, on the finer points of law is a ‘lose, lose’ situation….

  • the 2016 election is going to be difficult. the greens want to take lib dem votes on the list seats

    “A survey of 1029 adults aged 16 or over in Scotland found that 62 per cent plan to vote for the SNP in the constituency section of the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections, with support for Labour on 20 per cent, the Conservatives on 12 per cent and the Lib Dems down to three per cent support.

    Meanwhile 54 per cent of those surveyed said they would vote SNP in the regional list, with Labour on 20 per cent, the Tories on 12 per cent, the Greens on eight and the Lib Dems on four.”

    The Greens on double the lib dem vote on the list that could lose all three seats as around 6% needed for a list seat.

    the two constituency seats are both in the northern isles and the SNP can throw everything at them.

    Scotland could be a lib dem free zone.

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Nov '15 - 12:27pm

    Stimpson9th Nov ’15 – 7:21pm
    “Corbyn and UKIP supporters are always willing to cause disruption to further their own ends.”

    Any serious review of the political landscape, past and present, would conclude that one party stands head and shoulders above all others in “furthering their own ends” and that is the one which forms the present government.

    The Tory version of the Preamble could simply read: “To further the interests of this party and those of our rich, powerful and influential friends.”

  • Maybe we should wait for the Court’s decision. It is a mess and ought to be a lesson to those tempted to tell lies but if everyone who told lies were barred from Parliament there would be no one sitting there. It is as simple as that.

  • Phil Rimmer 10th Nov '15 - 1:03pm

    Given Alistair Carmichael’s pattern of behaviour over an act that was both unacceptable and stupid, I am amazed and ashamed that any of my fellow Liberal Democrats are willing to defend him over this. Are they determined to destroy what remains of the party in Scotland?

    As for blaming other political parties for exploiting the situation. That’s what you do when your opponents act like idiots. We’ve all done it.

  • nvelope2003 10th Nov '15 - 1:14pm

    David Raw: What the Chief of the Defence Staff said was a mere statement of the obvious. If you say you will not use the deterrent then it is no longer the deterrent is it ? He was asked the question and gave a truthful answer unlike most politicians but I guess that is why they found it unpalatable, especially those who are embarrassed about the need to defend the nation from possible enemies. Maybe we should just let them come in ?

  • Malcolm Todd 10th Nov '15 - 1:22pm

    nvelope2003: But that’s not what he said. What he said was “When people say ‘you are never going to use the deterrent’, what I say is you use the deterrent every second, of every minute, of every day. The purpose of the deterrent is that you don’t have to use it…”

    Far from being a “statement of the obvious”, this is so tendentious that it actually contradicts itself — unless you accept that he is using the word “use” in two quite different senses in consecutive sentences, whilst making an unwarranted assumption about what other people mean by “use”. Which is either muddled thinking or dishonest.

    By the way, I can’t remember — were you one of those who lambasted Jeremy Corbyn for giving “a truthful answer unlike most politicians” when asked if he would personally authorise firing nuclear weapons? Or are you honest and consistent enough to applaud him for that?

  • David Allen 10th Nov '15 - 1:33pm

    “What the Chief of the Defence Staff said was a mere statement of the obvious.”

    If you need to argue that something is obvious, then it ain’t obvious. If you are an ordinary voter or an ordinary politician, you can make that argument. If you are in the military, you can’t, because you are making a politically controversial argument, which you must not do, howevere obvious you might think it is that your own political view is correct!

  • Richard Underhill 10th Nov '15 - 2:34pm

    nvelope2003 10th Nov ’15 – 1:14pm Civilian control of the military is hugely important. This should not split on party lines, but it has done.
    The defence secretary, a tory, agrees the staement of government policy.
    The leader of the opposition does not have the power to launch, or not to launch, missilies and the Fixed Term Parliament Act means that there will not be a general election before May 2020 unless the government is defeated in a motion of confidence or no-confidence.
    The press and media are wrong to discuss “pressing the button” if there is an implication that a decision needs to be taken by the Prime Minister of the day withing the 4 minutes he/she might have when under attack. An incoming PM is given a briefing on day one and unopened instructions are provided to trident submarines.
    There has been an attack on Downing Street by non-nuclear missiles fired from a street nearby, causing damage in John Major’s time and a bomb was placed in a hotel during a tory party conference killing and maiming.
    The theory of deterrence does require rational opponents, as in the Cuban missile crisis and a target, which may not exist if threats arise from terrorists who are not states.

  • We should await the legal outcome, but I am disappointed that the oarty has been put through this. A voluntary and repeat election at the time this came out may have been best – liberalism was once strong in acotland and now is a side-show at best, and it’s all been entirely avoidable.

  • nvelope2003 the cds should not have criticised the opposition leader in public. If he was concerned then the standard procedure would be to request a meeting without beverages where a full and frank discussion using words of one syllable could take place. Serving personnel especially of senior rank are there to implement the decisions of the politicians. They can advise but on a confidential basis.

    The reality is that our nuclear deterrence is only of use against a limited number of states and submarine launched ballistic systems are no longer effective being easy to take out in a pre-emptive strike. There are far greater threats many of which cannot be countered by military force.

  • nvelope2003 10th Nov '15 - 5:47pm

    Re: the above comments. I have never criticised Jeremy Corbyn on LDV. I admire him in many ways although I do not always agree with him but if you say that you would never use the deterrent then it ceases to be a deterrent. It was an honest thing to say and I am glad he said it but unless the present policy is changed and the official opposition agrees to that change he could not be Prime Minister because he could not carry out one of the principal functions of that office which is the defence of the nation.

    Of course there are different levels of threat which require different levels of response and I hope we shall never need to use nuclear weapons but the possession of them is supposed to send out a signal to those who might wish to attack us that if they do we will respond in kind. It is a ghastly thought but if it works we will never need to do so. I do not want to see any, let alone millions of innocent civilians killed but would the Russians have invaded Crimea and fomented rebellion in Eastern Ukraine if that country had not abandoned its nuclear weapons in return for various undertakings from the various powers. I do not think so and I doubt if anyone else does, except possibly those who post on here.

    Maybe the CDS should have given the usual bland response but most people would prefer an honest answer to the usual waffle. It is the failure of the politicians to answer questions honestly that has caused the loss of faith in the democratic system, not just here, but in other democracies. Surely the armed forces who have to make the greatest sacrifice for the defence of the nation are allowed to have some say in how it should be organised ? They have votes too.

  • nvelope2003 whatever the cds thinks he cannot give his personal view until he has retired and written his memoirs. The services are in a special position with special regs. The whole of the forces depend on discipline and following orders. They do have channels available I frequently used them but public criticism of superiors is not allowed no matter how stupid they are.

    If the present leader of the opposition becomes PM and decides to scrap nuclear weapons and parliament agree then they would be scrapped.

  • For a start the BBC should have realised that putting the general in that position asking such a question was unacceptable…The general, having been asked the question, should have given a ‘political’ answer.

    Sadly, in the ongoing strategy to paint Corbyn as ‘unsuitable’, neither of the above was followed….

    The refusal, by No.10, to act is not surprising. However, given that Cameron has previously spoken about serving officers staying out of politics, ‘hypocrisy’ is a word that comes to mind…

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Nov '15 - 6:30pm

    A Social Liberal and Phil Rimmer nail it.

    It is about truth, ethics, honour and acceptability.

    The Liberal Democrats must not condone behaviour breaching these criteria even when the offender is sadly one of our own.

  • It was disappointing but not surprising to hear Tavish Scott refer to the Election Court as a “show trial”. That impugns the integrity of the Court and the judges presiding in it and is very dismissive of the constituents who have brought the case.

  • Bruce Hosie 11th Nov '15 - 9:13am

    I think this whole affair has done an amazing amount of damage to the Lib Dems in Scotland, add on Tavish Scott’s comments and we are fast approaching the perfect storm. Alistair Carmichael should have resigned, I’m sorry to say it and don’t doubt that over the years he may have been an excellent MP, but the days of the Scottish public accepting this type of behaviour are gone. The General Election result in May has demonstrated that Scotland has changed and the many new people engaged in politics will not accept the status quo from the unionist parties. When I put into the mix the failure of the watered down Smith Commission, the contempt shown for Scotland in the debates and their choice of the SNP to represent them and EVEL it is pretty clear to me that we facing a near wipe out next May and in 2017 council elections unless we come up with a soloution and very quickly. We have got to earn back trust, we have got to fight for a federal UK and actual Home Rule for Scotland, failure to do so might well see the virtual end of the Scottish Lib Dems and the need for a new party in Scotland. I joined from the SNP after the GE and remain a committed YES voter because the status quo is not acceptable. But Alistair has made the message a lot harder to get across, esp here in Dundee. I’m sorry to say it but he has to go.

  • it seems tavish scott has not heard of the first rule of holes – stop digging. calling it a show trial was really crass.

    the whole fiasco is ridiculous. spad who is government employee comes across a memo setting out details of meeting not minutes but written as hearsay. decides to give it to a newspaper. first wrong move – a government employee should only release it through the press department and it goes as a press release to all papers. government employees are not allowed to do “exclusives” SoS is asked for permission and gives it second wrong move – it should have gone through normal channels with his name on it as an official release but after checking veracity with French and FM. Spad uses government phone to make sure the contact appears on his call list – 11th commandment thou shall not get caught has the spad never watched Yes Minister. Then when the effluent impacts the propellor and both the FM and French deny it, SoS goes on TV on the record denying it all. And this is Scotland’s representative in cabinet and with a legal training. Then in true Watergate fashion it is the coverup not the action that blows the thing up.

    Then “helpful” MSP calls it a show trial just when the public are looking for a rope and a tree branch.

    Even Spitting Image would reject it as too far fetched for a script.

  • nvelope2003 10th Nov ’15 – 5:47pm……………………..It is a ghastly thought but if it works we will never need to do so. I do not want to see any, let alone millions of innocent civilians killed but would the Russians have invaded Crimea and fomented rebellion in Eastern Ukraine if that country had not abandoned its nuclear weapons in return for various undertakings from the various powers. I do not think so and I doubt if anyone else does, except possibly those who post on here…………………………….

    Ukraine NEVER had an independent nuclear capacity; it did not have operational control of the weapons, as they were dependent on Russian-controlled electronic Permissive Action Links and the Russian command and control system…..

  • I actually think the Lib Dems have the opportunity to take over Scotland.

    When people tire of the SNP, they will not trust either a Corbynite hard left Labour, or a David Miliband Blairite party, and the Tories are off limits.

    The Lib Dems will be the natural party of Scottish government.

  • “the Lib Dems have the opportunity to take over Scotland” really from a base of around 3% in the polls. one slightly politically used MP stuck in a constituency miles from anywhere. 5 MSPs possibly reduced to a lot less. 65/1223 councillors. The neanderthal wastes of the west would probably return to labour. corbyn is not going to last. the lib dems have been the fourth party in the parliament since it opened. the Tories might be off limits but they still beat the lib dems every time.

  • It’s partly a reprise of the tuition fees saga. In public perception when Tories (perhaps Labour too) break promises or “tell lies” it’s more or less business as usual. Nigel Farage can spout any sort of nonsense with impunity. When Lib Dems are deemed guilty it is disastrous. Gone are the days when “we are different” was part of the brand.

  • “Also, Tavish Scott accused the judges of running a show trial to their very faces” does he think he is above the law.

    This whole case illustrates a level of incompetence below that expected of politicians. The memo was untrue.

    Both Carmichael and Scott need to consider their positions. This is going to run till May elections and could remove any chance of any lib dems being elected. The Greens are pushing hard on the list vote and could take a lot of lib dem votes. The only two constituency MSPs are in the Carmichael constituency and this has given a lot of votes to the other parties.

  • nvelope2003 12th Nov '15 - 9:09pm

    Expats: I have not heard what you say before but if Ukraine had an independent nuclear deterrent my point would have been valid. I accept that there does seem to be some doubt about the independence or otherwise of our own nuclear deterrent. If it cannot be used exccept with permission from the US then the US should pay for it (but they will not).

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