Pressure grows on MP to quit after coronavirus breach

Margaret Ferrier travelled from London to Glasgow on a train after testing positive.

Pressure is growing on an MP to quit after she travelled on a train from London to Glasgow while knowingly infected with coronavirus.

SNP MP Margaret Ferrier, who represents the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, has had the whip suspended as a result of the breach.

The party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he had asked Ferrier to “reflect on her position”, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described her behaviour as “utterly indefensible”.

The 60-year-old, who was initially elected in 2015, before losing the seat in 2017 and regaining it last year, apologised for her actions, saying: “There is no excuse.”

She is now facing calls to resign from across the political spectrum, including from her SNP colleagues.

SNP MP for Aberdeen North, Kirsty Blackman, has joined Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn and Glasgow East’s David Linden in calling for her resignation.

After Linden called for Ferrier to go on Twitter, Blackman echoed the sentiment, saying: “I agree with David Linden, Margaret Ferrier must resign, her actions cannot be overlooked.”

Her Tweet was shared by Flynn, who said: “Impossible to disagree. The public will expect nothing less.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Tories’ Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson hit out at Ferrier after the breach was revealed on Thursday.

She said: “Knowingly taking public transport after testing positive for COVID-19 is to put lives at risk. She has to go.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard also joined the chorus of criticism.

He said: “I wish Margaret Ferrier a speedy recovery. But her reckless actions have rendered her unfit for public office.

“Someone who has so outrageously flouted the laws that she has asked her constituents and the wider public to live by should no longer be voting on these laws. She has forfeited her right to be an MP and should resign immediately and force a by-election.”

Earlier, Sturgeon expressed her anger and Blackford confirmed he had spoken to Ferrier about the issue.

The First Minister tweeted: “It’s hard to express just how angry I feel on behalf of people across the country making hard sacrifices every day to help beat COVID.”

Ferrier spoke in the coronavirus debate in the House of Commons on Monday and, by her own account, tested positive for Covid-19 that evening.

She did not make clear whether she received the result before or after she spoke.

In a statement, she said she travelled home to Glasgow on Tuesday, where she has been self-isolating ever since.

Police Scotland said the MP informed them of her behaviour on Thursday and officers are “looking into the circumstances” along with the Metropolitan Police.

The Commons said she did not inform her party whip until Wednesday afternoon and that one person was identified as a close contact and told to self-isolate.

Under a new law that came into force the day of her positive test, Ferrier could face a £4000 fine for a first-time offence of coming into contact with others when she should have been self-isolating.

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