SNP MP went on train after testing positive for coronavirus

Margaret Ferrier had already travelled by train to Westminster even though she had developed Covid symptoms.

SNP MP went on train after testing positive for coronavirus Getty Images
Margaret Ferrier campaigns with Nicola Sturgeon during 2019 election campaign.

An SNP MP has apologised for travelling by train from London back to her constituency – after testing positive for Covid-19.

Margaret Ferrier, who represents Rutherglen and Hamilton West, had already travelled south to attend parliament even though she had developed coronavirus symptoms and booked a test.

She admitted there was “no excuse” for her actions but claimed that when she took the first journey she had been “feeling much better”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Ferrier’s actions were “utterly indefensible”.

She 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.

“The rules apply to everyone and they’re in place to keep people safe. @Ianblackford_MP is right to suspend the whip.”

People have been advised to book a test and self-isolate until you they receive their results if they develop symptoms of Covid-19.

In a statement, Ferrier said: “I apologise unreservedly for breaching Covid-19 restrictions by travelling this week when I shouldn’t have.

“There is no excuse for my actions.

“On Saturday afternoon, after experiencing mild symptoms, I requested a Covid-19 test, which I took that day.

“Feeling much better, I then travelled to London by train on Monday to attend parliament as planned.

“This was wrong, and I am very sorry for my mistake.”

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP said she then received a positive test result on Monday evening.

She continued: “I travelled home by train on Tuesday morning without seeking advice.

“This was also wrong and I am sorry. I have been self-isolating at home ever since.”

Ferrier said she had spoken to the relevant public health authorities and also notified police of her actions.

She closed her statement by urging the public “not to make the same mistakes that I have, and do all they can to help limit the spread of Covid-19”.

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford said he had spoken to Ferrier about the issue.

He tweeted: “I have spoken with @MargaretFerrier this evening who fully accepts that what she did was wrong.

“Margaret will be referring herself to the parliamentary standards commissioner as well as the police. I am tonight suspending the whip from Margaret.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman confirmed they were aware of the reports that Ferrier had travelled after testing positive for Covid-19.

The spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the circumstances and are liaising with our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police Service.”

Meanwhile, opposition parties said Ferrier’s position was no longer tenable.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the MP had to go with “immediate effect”.

He tweeted: “We are (in) the middle of a pandemic – travelling hundreds of miles on public transport having tested positive for this deadly virus isn’t a mistake, it’s a complete disregard for everything we are fighting against.”

Labour MP Ian Murray said Ferrier has “undermined all the sacrifices made by her constituents”.

He said: “Through her irresponsible actions, she very possibly has passed on the virus to a vulnerable person, who may now have Covid-19 and be in danger. She has put passengers, rail staff, fellow MPs, Commons staff and many others at unacceptable risk.”

A train drivers’ union also condemned Ferrier’s actions.

The Aslef union tweeted: “Rail staff have worked throughout this pandemic to make sure the network could serve the public.

“We’ve worked day in, day out to keep our railway as safe as possible for passengers and staff. For an MP to get on a train knowing she has Covid-19 is both dangerous and disgraceful.”