Politicians regularly tell lies and Parliament would “empty” if they were punished for it, a Liberal Democrat politician had admitted.
Sir Malcolm Bruce, who stood down as an MP at the election, was asked on BBC Radio 4 whether lying was widespread in public life.
“No, well, yes. Lots of people have told lies and you know perfectly well that to be true,” he responded.
“If you are suggesting every MP who has never quite told the truth or even told a brazen lie, including cabinet ministers, including prime ministers, [should be removed] we would clear out the House of Commons very fast, I would suggest,” he added.
Sir Malcolm was defending his colleague, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, who admitted that he had ordered the leak of a document after saying he had nothing to do with it.
The document in question was a second hand account of a conversation between Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and the French ambassador.
In it, Ms Sturgeon was alleged to have said she would prefer David Cameron as prime minister to then Labour leader Ed Miliband. The claim was politically crucial because the SNP was at the time expected to hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.
Both the French ambassador and Ms Sturgeon deny the version of events presented in the document.
Mr Carmichael’s special advisor’s role in the leaking of the document was revealed by a Cabinet Office inquiry into events. The former Scotland Secretary took full responsibility for the leak.
The Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland is the liberals’ only remaining member of parliament in Scotland and his resignation, which Ms Sturgeon called for, would result in a by-election.
“The basis on which people were asked to vote for him [was his innocence and he was] not being entirely honest when he said that and he was the one who leaked it,” she told Sky News.
The Liberal Democrats lost all but eight of their MPs at the general election. The party’s poll ratings plummeted after its MPs reneged on individually signed pledges to vote against any increase in tuition fees.
The party’s manifesto policy was, additionally, to scrap tuition fees. Most Lib Dem MPs ended up voting to treble the fees from £3,000 a year to £9,000.
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