The news that the then Secretary of State for Scotland sanctioned his special adviser to leak a government document has serious implications.
Firstly, at the time Mr Carmichael was seen on TV denying he knew of the existence of the memo until informed by journalists, and he continued with this falsehood throughout the election campaign. Technically, he lied on this matter to his constituents. For that alone, his position as MP is untenable.
Secondly, this leak could have damaged our international relations with France and it damaged the reputation of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the French diplomats by inferring that their denials were false.
Since Mr Carmichael denied at the time that he had sanctioned the release of this information, it brings into question whether this breaches Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act (1989), since it damaged our international relations. As such, the Crown Office should be looking at prosecutions as this was a serious matter. The journalist who received this information should also be investigated, since he knew he was not dealing with a government press officer, this was not official information. As such the Act makes provision for his prosecution.
Bruce D Skivington
The First Minister is rightly aggrieved about the “leak” from the Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael during the election about her supposed comments concerning her wish to see a Tory victory in the election. Undoubtedly this wholly inappropriate action from Mr Carmichael should be condemned.
However, before the First Minister calls again for him to consider his position after “contesting the election on false pretences”, let her just remember that it is only a short while ago that, embarrassingly, she had to face the Chamber at Holyrood to advise MSPs that actually, no specific legal advice had been given by Scottish Law Officers in relation to Scotland’s future membership of the European Union following Alex Salmond’s comments on the Andrew Neil programme that “we have, yes, in terms of the debate”. At that time, did Mr Salmond contest the debate on false pretences?
Elections and electoral campaigning can be a dirty business and let us not doubt that the SNP know how to play the game to suit them!