Former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier suspended for 30 days after vote and facing recall petition

The disgraced Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP is now facing a by-election.

Margaret Ferrier is facing a recall petition and losing her seat after MPs voted to hand her a 30-day suspension for breaching Covid rules.

The Commons standards watchdog recommended the sanction earlier this year, and now the Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP could be facing the end of her political career.

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MPs voted 185 to 40 in favour of the punishment, which comes after Ms Ferrier was found to have damaged the reputation of the Commons and to have put people at risk after taking part in a debate and travelling by train while suffering from Covid-19.

The SNP are supporting a by-election after Margaret Ferrier was given a 30-day suspension.The SNP are supporting a by-election after Margaret Ferrier was given a 30-day suspension.
The SNP are supporting a by-election after Margaret Ferrier was given a 30-day suspension.

Ms Ferrier was in the Commons chamber during the vote on her suspension, accompanied by Conservative former minister Andrew Selous and SNP MP Carol Monaghan (Glasgow North West).

At one point, Daniel Kawczynski, Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, was seen walking to the opposition benches to shake Ms Ferrier’s hand.

Despite her seat being a target for the Labour party, the SNP are also now demanding a by-election.

David Linden MP said: "There must now be a by-election, which the SNP has been calling for since Ms Ferrier's Covid rule-breach first came to light in 2020.

"People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West are paying an unacceptable price for the damaging policies of the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party, as the cost of living soars.

"The SNP is the only party offering a real alternative. We will put the cost of living, NHS and independence at the heart of our campaign – and we'll work hard for every vote to ensure the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West can elect a strong SNP MP to stand up for them.”

Labour previously held the seat in 2017. Ms Ferrier holds the seat with a majority of 5,230 – a gap Labour will view as achievable to bridge and win back the constituency.

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The incident occurred on September 26, 2020, when Ms Ferrier developed symptoms and took a Covid-19 test. 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’ Tea Room in Parliament. That same evening the disgraced MP received a text telling her the test was positive. Instead of isolating, she travelled back to Scotland by train the following morning.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Daniel Greenberg said Ms Ferrier had breached the 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”.

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.

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