Former Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael is under pressure to resign as an MP after admitting leaking an official memo which claimed the SNP leader had secretly admitted she wanted a Tory Government.
Mr Carmichael has apologised to both Nicola Sturgeon and the French ambassador to the UK after accepting responsibility for a leaked memo which alleged the Scotland First Minister wanted Tory leader David Cameron to win the general election.
Liberal Democrat Mr Carmichael conceded he should not have agreed to the document being made public by his special adviser, Euan Roddin.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood ordered an inquiry into how the note, which claimed that Ms Sturgeon told ambassador Sylvie Bermann that she would prefer to see Conservatives remain in power after the general election, got into the public domain.
The Cabinet Office investigation concluded the memo was an accurate reflection of the SNP leader’s comments as understood by a senior civil servant.
Mr Carmichael, who is now Scotland’s only Lib Dem MP, said: “I should not have agreed this. It was an error of judgment.
“Had I still been a government minister, I would have considered this to be a matter that required my resignation. I have therefore informed the Cabinet Secretary that I will decline my ministerial severance payment.”
Ms Sturgeon accepted Mr Carmichael’s apology, but called for the Lib Dem to consider if he should remain as an MP.