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Local Lib Dems back Carmichael in leaked memo row

Alistair Carmichael initially denied responsibility for the leaked memo. Credit: PA Wire

Liberal Democrats in Alistair Carmichael's Orkney and Shetland constituency are backing the former Scottish Secretary amid a police investigation into his election smear tactics and a growing online campaign to have him removed.

Carmichael leaked an unsubstantiated memo claiming Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader, had expressed support for the Conservatives, and initially denied any responsibility for the leak.

Local party members have voiced disappointment at Carmichael's conduct, but urged his constituents to give him "a fair hearing" rather than giving in to "mob rule" and the "increasingly personal and unpleasant political motivation of the SNP and the Yes campaign".

The members agreed that Alistair [Carmichael] has rightly taken full responsibility and has apologised to all concerned, not least to the people of Orkney and Shetland ... and he retains the full confidence of the executive.

– Shetland Liberal Democrats executive committee

Alistair Carmichael 'won't resign' over leaked memo

Liberal Democrat MP and former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, who is at the centre of a row over a leaked memo, has told ITV News that he will not resign over the issue.

But Mr Carmichael still faces anger over his admission that he sanctioned the release of the document during the election campaign about the SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and her alleged preference for Prime Minister.

ITV News correspondent Martin Geissler reports:


Police look into complaint over Carmichael memo leak

Police have confirmed they are looking into a complaint made against Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael over his involvement in a leaked memo about SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: "We can confirm that a complaint has been received and inquiries are ongoing to establish whether there is any criminality."

Commons 'would be emptied fast if every lying MP was sacked'

If every MP that lied was subsequently sacked, the House of Commons would be emptied "very fast", the former deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats has said.

Sir Malcolm Bruce at the Scottish Liberal Democrats Spring Conference in March. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Sir Malcolm Bruce made the comments in a defence of party colleague Alistair Carmichael, who has faced calls for his resignation over a leaked memo alleging Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon privately wanted David Cameron to win the General Election.

Carmichael, the only remaining Lib Dem MP in Scotland, has apologised to Sturgeon and the French ambassador to the UK after the Cabinet Office found he bore responsibility for the sharing of the document with the Telegraph.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Sir Malcolm said: "If you're suggesting every MP who has never quite told the truth or indeed told a brazen lie, including ministers, including Cabinet ministers, including prime ministers, we'd clear out the House of Commons very fast, I would suggest."

Questioned further on the apparent claim that lying in public life was widespread, he said: "No. Well, yes - I think the answer is lots of people have told lies and you know that to be perfectly true."

"But Alistair has taken consequences. He has apologised. He's indicated had he been a minister he would resign. He's forfeited his severance pay," he added.


Tim Farron joins race for Lib Dem leadership

Tim Farron has declared he has entered the Liberal Democrat leadership race.

Tim Farron confirms leadership bid. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The former party president told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

I have spent the last six days listening to hundreds and hundreds of members who have been urging me to do it.

My message to them is if they are up for the fightback I will step forward and put myself forward to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

– Tim Farron

Mr Farron joins former health minister Norman Lamb as the contenders to replace Nick Clegg following the party's disastrous general election results.

Lamb: Lib Dems' tuition fees 'debacle' cost party

The "debacle" of the Liberal Democrats' U-turn on university tuition fees "massively undermined" voters' trust in the party, one of its leadership candidates has said.

Norman Lamb, a former health minister, wants to replace Nick Clegg as Lib Dem leader. Credit: PA Wire

Norman Lamb said the Liberal Democrats had learned an "extremely painful lesson" from raising tuition fees to £9,000 while in coalition government with the Conservatives, despite ex-leader Nick Clegg's pledge to vote against any increase.

"Trust for me is critically important and that debacle massively undermined people's trust in the party," he told BBC Radio 4.

"I believe very strongly that we have now learned a massive lesson, an extremely painful one. But I don't think we will ever make that mistake again."

Lamb - who confirmed to ITV Anglia yesterday that he wanted to replace Nick Clegg - voted in favour of tuition fee increases in 2010, while his potential rival for the leadership, Tim Farron, rebelled and voted against the policy.

Norman Lamb confirms bid for Lib Dem leadership

Norman Lamb said he has "never shrunk away from a challenge" as he announced he will run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats.

Norman Lamb has confirmed he is to run for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats Credit: PA

The Norfolk North M, who held his seat with a reduced majority of 4,043, said he would put "body and soul" into the job.

Speaking to ITV News Anglia, Mr Lamb said: "I think we've got a lot of learning to do and we've got to understand where we went wrong.

"..I suspect in the next five years, with the Conservatives on their own, people might start to see what a good restraining influence we were and also some of the very progressive policies that we actually achieved in government."

He is the first to declare his bid in a race expected to be dominated by him and former party president Tim Farron, who has expressed anger that the election was fought "on the politics of fear".

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