MP Margaret Ferrier facing by-election after watchdog recommends 30 day suspension over Covid rules breach

By Lucy Ashton

Margaret Ferrier could face a by-election after the Commons standards watchdog recommended she should be suspended from Parliament for 30 days for breaching Covid-19 rules.

On Saturday September 26 2020, Ms Ferrier developed symptoms and took a Covid-19 test, but the following day she attended church and had lunch with a family member.

Two days later, while still awaiting her test results, the former SNP MP then travelled by train to London, took part in a Commons debate and ate in the Members’ Tearoom in Parliament.

That same evening she received a text telling her the test was positive. Instead of isolating, she travelled back to Scotland by train the following morning.

Margaret Ferrier could be facing a by-election after a 30 days suspension was recommended for breaching Covid-19 rules.
Margaret Ferrier could be facing a by-election after a 30 days suspension was recommended for breaching Covid-19 rules.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Daniel Greenberg said Ms Ferrier had breached code of conduct for MPs “by placing her own personal interest of not wishing to self-isolate immediately or in London over the public interest of avoiding possible risk of harm to health and life”.

She also breached the code because “her actions commencing from when she first took a Covid-19 test to when she finally begins self-isolation have caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, and of its Members generally”.

The Commons Standards Committee recommended she should face a 30 day suspension, which MPs will be asked to approve.

Ms Ferrier, who now sits as an independent, was previously ordered by Glasgow Sheriff Court to carry out 270 hours of community service after pleading guilty to breaking emergency Covid laws.

Opposition parties, and Nicola Sturgeon all called for Ferrier to resign her Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat to allow her constituents the chance to elect a replacement. At the time of the breach, the First Minister called on Ferrier to “do the right thing” and resign, describing Ferrier’s actions as “dangerous and indefensible”.

Labour’s Tommy McAvoy, now in the House of Lords,  previously held the seat in 2017, and will believe given her majority is 5,230, it’s a seat they can win back.

Top picture: The SNP benches where Ferrier used to sit in the Commons.

One comment

  1. Squeaky bum time for our Humza and the Westminster bunch.

    Margaret Ferrier was a popular MP with a decent majority of around 5,600.

    Sturgeon wanted her out and Police Scotland prosecuted her when the Metropolitan Police said no case to pursue.

    But now, with Westminster having a go, whilst Boris walks free, as did many other high Tories, the question is will the SNP take the seat if there is an election.

    Not so sure they will.

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