Margaret Ferrier by-election: SNP MP 'confident' SNP can win seat if by-election called in Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat

An SNP MP has said he is “confident” his party can win a by-election in Margaret Ferrier’s constituency if one is called.

David Linden, the party’s spokesman on social justice, also said he does not recognise reports that some in the SNP Westminster group feel the party lacks a clear offer to the electorate.

Ms Ferrier, a former SNP MP who now sits as an independent, this week lost her appeal against a proposed 30-day suspension from the Commons for her Covid rule-breaking.

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It brings the possibility of a by-election in her Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency closer, though a recall petition must take place first before this can go ahead.

Margaret Ferrier who is the Independent MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West. Picture: PAMargaret Ferrier who is the Independent MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West. Picture: PA
Margaret Ferrier who is the Independent MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West. Picture: PA

On Tuesday, Mr Linden was asked on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme if he is worried about the constituency in the event of a by-election.

He said he was “absolutely confident” the SNP would win the seat, adding: “We look forward, as we’ve already been doing, to taking our message to people on the doorsteps, that we are laser-focused on that cost-of-living crisis.

“That’s the concern that has been raised by the people in Rutherglen and Hamilton West and we relish the opportunity to get the focus of the UK Government in that by-election on to the cost-of-living crisis.”

Mr Linden was also asked about a report in The Times on an “away day” meeting of SNP MPs, which said there is disquiet among the group due to a lack of strategy in the party.

Mr Linden said he does not recognise this description, saying: “Our firm focus is on holding the feet of the Tories to the fire on the cost-of-living crisis.”

The Glasgow East MP also hit out at the Conservative UK Government’s trade union legislation, likening it to approaches taken in “Russia, Hungary and Belarus”.

He said the minimum service level legislation could result in a “power grab” where the UK Government is able to overrule the Scottish Government in public sector industrial disputes.

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Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said on Monday Ms Ferrier should “do the right thing” and resign. Ms Ferrier appealed against the punishment recommended by the Commons Standards Committee. However, the Independent Expert Panel confirmed her challenge had been rejected.



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