THE Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson has launched an inquiry into former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael after he admitted involvement in leaking a confidential document during the election to damage First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Under new rules, if Mr Carmichael is found guilty of misconduct and suspended from the Commons for 21 sitting days or more then constituents can trigger a by-election for his Orkney and Shetland seat if 10 per cent of eligible voters sign a petition.
The incident known as “Frenchgate” involved a report on Ms Sturgeon’s meeting with the French ambassador Sylvie Bermann where the First Minister was alleged to have expressed a preference for Tory Prime Minister David Cameron to win the election.
Ms Sturgeon and Ms Bermann both denied the accuracy of the account and a subsequent investigation found that Mr Carmichael and his special adviser Euan Roddin were responsible for the leak.
Both men apologised and declined their severance pay for leaving government as a result of the findings.
But Ms Sturgeon and the SNP demanded that Mr Carmichael resigned his Orkney and Shetland seat because he was elected on the basis of denials he had made during the election that he was involved in the leak.
In a brief statement, Mr Carmciahel said: “I will cooperate with the commissioner.”
SNP MP Pete Wishart, the party’s Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, said: “The announcement of an investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner underlines the seriousness of the allegations.
“We welcome this development and await the outcome of investigation. The people of Orkney and Shetland need an MP who is fully focused on representing them and the needs of the constituency.”