After failing to self-isolate and even travelling on public transport after testing positive for coronavirus, Margaret Ferrier has had the SNP whip withdrawn, with many calling for her to resign.
Ferrier’s failure to follow the law and coronavirus guidelines came to light yesterday (1 October) when the MP tweeted a statement in which she apologised “unreservedly for breaking Covid-19 restrictions” and said there was “no excuse” for her actions.
The 60-year-old politician has faced strong criticism from across the political spectrum, including from many within her own party.
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her anger at the MP in a tweet, in which she supported Ian Blackford MP’s decision to withdraw the party whip and described Ferrier’s actions as “indefensible”.
In a follow-up Tweet, she said: “I’ve spoken to Margaret Ferrier and made clear my view that she should step down as an MP. I did so with a heavy heart - she is a friend & a colleague - but her actions were dangerous & indefensible. I have no power to force an MP to resign but I hope she will do the right thing”.
Speaking to a journalist from the Scottish Sun, an unnamed SNP source described the MP as “just really hard of thinking”.
Who is Margaret Ferrier?
The MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West was first elected to Westminster in 2015, as part of the SNP’s landslide victory which saw them take 56 of the 59 seats up for grabs in Scotland.
Ferrier’s victory that night was among the most surprising, overturning a Labour majority of more than 20,000 - one of the largest majorities in the UK at that point - to secure her own majority of around 9,000.
Ferrier lost the seat in a very tight race in 2017, to Labour’s Ged Killen, but was able to retake it again for the SNP in 2019. Killen is among those expected to stand for election in the event of a by-election.
She entered politics officially in 2013, standing as an SNP candidate in council elections, after being a member of the Scottish Labour party in her youth.
Before getting into politics she worked as a commercial sales supervisor for a manufacturing construction company, having studied shipping management at college.
Will she resign?
Following the removal of the party whip, Ferrier is no longer an official representative of the SNP, though she will retain her seat in parliament as an independent unless she decides to resign or is recalled by constituents.
Many MPs, including the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, and her colleagues David Linden and Kirst Blackman have called on Ferrier to resign.
Although a number of MPs and public figures have been caught out or admitted to breaking the spirit of the regulation, Ferrier would be the first MP to resign or lose her job over the mistake.
Ferrier was among the many MPs and other public figures who called for the resignation of Boris Johnsons’ chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, when he was revealed to have travelled across the country with coronavirus during the early stages of lockdown.