Week 21: Prat – Alistair Carmichael MP

by Jackie_South on May 24, 2015

Carmichael_PratThis week, our award for the biggest prat of the last seven days goes to former Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael

A month before the general election, the Daily Telegraph published a leaked government memo stating that the French Ambassador had held a conversation with Nicola Sturgeon in which the latter indicated that she preferred David Cameron to Ed Miliband as Prime Minister.

The SNP immediately cried foul, initially blaming Labour for the leak, then focusing on the fact that the leak apparently came from the Scottish Office. The finger then clearly pointed towards the then secretary of state, Alistair Carmichael: the claim being that the leak was an attempt to salvage Lib Dem Scottish seats from the anticipated SNP landslide.

Carmichael denied any involvement vigorously: he denied all knowledge on Channel 4 News and instead instigated an investigation to discover the leak. That investigation cost an astonishing £1.4m to carry out, conveniently reporting after the general election.

This week we learned that the source of the leak was none other than Carmichael – he who had denied any knowledge whatsoever at the time. In fact, his spad had called the Telegraph up two days before it published the story. Carmichael put his hands up once the investigation reported and said that the issue would have “required (his) resignation” as a minister.

If you thought the Lib Dems’ reputation could not sink any lower, here we have a former cabinet member blowing £1.4m on an investigation to which he already knew the answer, in a vain (if timely) attempt to cover up his own dirty tricks.

Time will tell whether the case forces his resignation as the Lib Dems’ sole Scottish MP (my guess is that he’ll get off with an apology to the House). But his reputation is permanently tarnished by the affair: all for a quick headline that the French ambassador disowned.

A prize prat indeed.

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