By Andrew Tickell, aka Lallands Peat Worrier
“IT was nothing personal.” That, in a nutshell, was Alistair Carmichael’s defence in court number one in Parliament House yesterday.
The Orkney and Shetland MP is trying to persuade Lady Paton and Lord Matthews to dismiss the election petition that four of his constituents have brought against him under the Representation of the People Act 1983.
They’re relying on section 106 – which makes it an illegal practice to make false statements about a candidate’s “personal character and conduct” for the purposes of winning election. If the petitioners prevailed, not only would Scotland’s last Liberal Democrat lose his seat, but Carmichael would be barred from elective office for three years.
If the procurator-fiscal decided to institute proceedings, there would also be a risk of prosecution and a hefty fine. The personal consequences couldn’t be starker.
Picture courtesy of NATS Press Office