ALISTAIR Carmichael is facing a legal challenge from campaigners hoping to overturn the general election result which saw him cling on to his Orkney and Shetland seat.

The last remaining Liberal Democrat MP in Scotland has resisted calls for him to stand down ever since it emerged that he leaked a memo which wrongly suggested Nicola Sturgeon wanted David Cameron as Prime Minister and then lied about it during the campaign.

An online fundraising drive, started by two islanders on Orkney, to mount legal action that would challenge the result has raised £43,000. 

A petition has now been lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in an effort to have the former Scottish secretary's election overturned.
The petition was formally presented by Jonathan Mitchell QC at a hearing before Lord Uist.
The judge made an order for Mr Carmichael to be formally notified of the petition.

One of the organisers, Fiona MacInnes, told BBC Scotland: "There is a large groundswell of opinion now forming that Alistair Carmichael should step down and allow the people of Orkney and Shetland to make the choice about whether they wish to place their trust in him again or not.

"It is really constituents from Orkney and Shetland asking the courts, or the law of the land, to examine the electoral process in Orkney and Shetland over the election period - and to see whether it was run properly and fairly."

Mr Carmichael, who held what was previously seen by many as the safest seat in Scotland, clung on by just over 800 votes earlier this month, with the SNP a close second. The nationalists, who have led calls for Mr Carmichael's head, would be favourite to pick up the seat should Mr Carmichael resign in disgrace sparking a by-election or lose a court challenge.

A Cabinet Office investigation found that Mr Carmichael, the former Scottish Secretary, had given his then special adviser, Euan Roddin, authority to leak the memo about the First Minister's meeting with the French Ambassador, Sylvie Bermann.

It claimed that the First Minister had told Mme Bermann that she wanted Mr Cameron to remain as Prime Minister and thought Ed Miliband was not up to the job of replacing him in No 10.

This was the direct opposite of what Ms Sturgeon was saying in public; that she wanted to "lock out" the Tory leader from Downing Street and help put the Labour leader in. The FM categorically denied the claims in the memo, saying they were "100 per cent untrue"; the French Embassy also denied them.

The Heywood inquiry found the unnamed civil servant believed his note of the conversation between Ms Sturgeon and Mme Bermann was accurate but accepted the key part, relating to any mention of Mr Cameron and Mr Miliband, "might well have got lost in translation".

Mr Carmichael initially said the first he had heard of the memo was when he was contacted by a journalist, but following the investigation admitted his guilt and apologised.

Speaking outside the court, Robert Holland, partner at solicitors Balfour and Manson, said: "An election petition has been lodged today at the Court of Session.

"It has been accepted by the court and warrant has been granted for service.
"As far as the legal proceedings go it will take its usual course."
Tim Morrison, one of the campaigners behind the petition, said: "Everyone has an opinion on what happened and what Mr Carmichael has done or not done, but we ordinary voters want to have our say now that we are in full possession of the facts.
"Mr Carmichael has apologised to us, his constituents. It's up to us to forgive him if we choose to in the ballot box.
"This should happen as soon as possible and certainly not in five years."