The broadcaster STV has won permission to televise a court hearing into allegations that Alistair Carmichael unfairly won re-election to the Commons in May after falsely denying that he had helped leak a government memo.
Carmichael, who held his Orkney and Shetland seat by a narrow margin in the general election, will appear in court on Monday 7 September to face claims from constituents that he breached the Representation of the People Act 1983.
He is accused of deceiving voters about his behaviour by concealing his role in the leak of a disputed memo before the election about Nicola Sturgeon’s meeting with the French ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, where the first minister allegedly said she wanted the Tories to win the election.
In a first for a Scottish court, the court service in Edinburgh announced on Tuesday that it would allow the two-day hearing to be streamed live on STV’s website and its local Freeview channels because of the unique circumstances of the case, which has been brought after constituents raised £60,000 to fund their legal costs.
Carmichael admitted to a Cabinet Office inquiry that he had authorised his special adviser, Euan Roddin, to leak the Scotland Office memo while he was the Scottish secretary. He had denied all knowledge of it before the election, in which his majority was slashed from 9,928 votes to 817.