THE former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael yesterday claimed he had a “lot of support” to remain as a member of parliament despite facing intense pressure to give up his Westminster seat following the leak of a controversial memo.
Carmichael said he was “hanging on in there” at the end of a week that had seen campaigners launch a court action aimed at overturning his election as the MP for Orkney and Shetland earlier this month.
A petition was lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh after a crowd-funding drive raised more than £40,000 to challenge his narrow victory over the SNP.
The SNP has also called on him to quit.
Approached by Scotland on Sunday, Carmichael said: “I am hanging in here. It is not easy for any of us, but I am hanging on in there and I am getting a lot of support.”
Carmichael declined to comment on the court action.
Carmichael has been under fire since it emerged that he authorised the leaking of a memo which suggested that Nicola Sturgeon would rather David Cameron was Prime Minister than Ed Miliband.
The memo, which was leaked at the height of the General Election, was written by a civil servant and was an account of a meeting between Sturgeon and the French ambassador, Sylvie Bermann.
The memo was based on a conversation the official had with the French consul, Pierre Alain Coffinier, who was present at the meeting.
Sturgeon, the ambassador and the consul have disputed the contents of the memo.
A Cabinet Office investigation found Carmichael was behind the leak. During the election campaign, Carmichael denied being the source of the leak.
Carmichael has apologised and declined to take the £16,876 severance pay he would have been entitled to as a departing Cabinet minister.
His detractors argue that had his constituents known before the election that Carmichael had authorised the leak, the result in Orkney and Shetland might have been different.
The legal bid titled “The People Versus Carmichael” has been set up by Orkney residents Fiona MacInnes and Tim Morrison.