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Margaret Ferrier’s ‘indefensible’ Covid parliament journey

Margaret Ferrier

Image caption

Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP spoke in a debate in the House of Commons before returning to Scotland

The Scottish Prime Minister says the actions of a SNP MP who went to Westminster despite Covid symptoms are “absolutely indefensible”


Margaret Ferrier said she made the trip because she felt “much better”, but she also returned home after getting a positive test result.

The deputy, who was suspended from her party, said “there was no excuse for my actions”.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted his support for the decision to suspend the parliamentarian.

He said: “This is absolutely indefensible. It is difficult to express how angry I feel about people across the country who make hard sacrifices every day to help beat Covid.

“The rules apply to everyone and are in place to protect people. @Ianblackford_MP is right to stop the whip.”

One of Ms Ferrier’s former SNP colleagues, Glasgow East MP David Linden, also said he “should step down” as an MP.

He was speaking on the BBC’s Question Time program.

  • What is self-isolation and who should do it?

Ms Ferrier said she took a test on Saturday after experiencing “mild symptoms”, but went to London on Monday because she felt better.

Congresswoman from Rutherglen and Hamilton West spoke at the coronavirus debate in the House of Commons on Monday and said she received the positive test result that evening.

He then took a train back to Scotland on Tuesday.

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Multimedia captionMargaret Ferrier speaks in Commons waiting for the test result

Ms. Ferrier said she informed the police and deeply regretted her actions.

“I went home on the train Tuesday morning without asking for advice. That was also wrong and I’m sorry,” she said.

“Since then I have isolated myself at home.”

Police Scotland confirmed that he had been contacted by Ms Ferrier, claiming that the officers were “examining the circumstances” and maintaining contact with the metropolitan police service.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he spoke to Ms Ferrier, who accepted that what she did was wrong.

He said, “Margaret will be referring to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and the police. Tonight I will suspend Margaret’s whip.”

When someone tests positive for the coronavirus, they usually attract sympathy and concern.

But this is extremely limited for Margaret Ferrier after she admitted breaking Covid’s self-isolation rules.

She may have apologized for being in parliament and taking long journeys by public transport with the coronavirus, but she hasn’t offered an explanation.

His behavior is far more serious than the trip lockout violation that cost Catherine Calderwood her job as Scotland’s chief medical officer.

It is even more serious than the blockade trips by the Prime Minister’s Adviser Dominic Cummings, whom Ms Ferrier has invited to step down.

It is therefore not surprising that the Conservatives are demanding Rutherglen’s MP and Hamilton West resign from parliament.

She has already been suspended by the SNP and the party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has called her behavior “absolutely indefensible”.

House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle wrote to lawmakers Thursday night to say he was informed after Ms Ferrier told SNP whip that she tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday afternoon.

“The House authorities immediately took all necessary measures in line with their legal obligations and with the PHE [Public Health England] Guide, “he wrote.

“Based on the information provided to the contact tracing system, only one individual has been identified as a close contact in relation to this case and is now self-isolating.”

A spokesperson for the House of Commons said the House’s priority is to ensure the safety of those who work on the estate.

The statement added: “We have closely followed public health guidelines on actions to be taken following a confirmed case of Covid on the spot.

“Parliament has a dedicated team to support testing and tracing teams across the UK, acting as a central point of contact in the event of suspected or confirmed cases, where an individual has worked on the estate.”

“Dangerous and shameful”

Labor MP Ian Murray said Ms Ferrier displayed “surprising recklessness”.

“It has put passengers, railway staff, parliamentary colleagues, municipal staff and many others at unacceptable risk,” he said.

“Breaking the rules twice is simply unforgivable and undermined all the sacrifices made by its constituents.”

The Aslef machinists union described his actions as “dangerous and shameful”.

Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson said knowingly taking public transport after testing positive for Covid-19 was life-threatening.

Ms Ferrier was one of the MPs who called on Prime Minister Adviser Dominic Cummings to step down in the wake of the controversy over his visit to north-east England during the lockdown.

At the time, he said his actions had “undermined the sacrifices we all have made” and described his position as “unsustainable”.

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