Starmer to address Ferrier controversy with residents

The Labour leader will host a virtual meeting with Margaret Ferrier's constituency on Wednesday.

Starmer to address Ferrier controversy with residents Getty Images
Starmer: Labour leader to speak to MP's constituency after rule breach.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will speak to residents from Margaret Ferrier’s constituency following outrage over the MP’s breaches of coronavirus rules.

He will host a “Call Keir” virtual meeting with constituents in Rutherglen and Hamilton West on Wednesday.

Voters will be invited to discuss the issue with Sir Keir, as well as the UK and Scottish governments’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ferrier had the SNP whip withdrawn following revelations about her behaviour after she developed Covid-19 symptoms.

The MP developed coronavirus symptoms and took a test on Saturday September 26.

She breached rules by travelling to London the following Monday and taking a train back to Scotland on the Tuesday after receiving a positive result.

Ferrier is also reported to have attended a church service on the Sunday after she took the test.

Ahead of the call, the Labour leader said it “beggars belief” that Ferrier has so far refused to step down as an MP, calling it a “gross error of judgment”.

Despite calls from across the political spectrum, Ferrier remains the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Sir Keir said: “After admitting to multiple serious breaches of the coronavirus regulations, it beggars belief that Margaret Ferrier thinks it is appropriate to continue as an MP. This is a gross error of judgment.

“I want to speak directly to local residents about this scandal, to those locally who are feeling angry and frustrated about the situation.

“I also want to hear how the community is coping with coronavirus, how they feel the UK and Scottish governments have handled the pandemic, and what the Labour Party needs to do to rebuild trust among those voters we have lost.”

The Scottish Labour party has also launched an online petition calling for Ferrier to quit as an MP.

The petition, launched by leader Richard Leonard, said: “It cannot be one rule for MPs and another for keyworkers, constituents and families struggling to keep to the rules.”

Leonard said: “Margaret Ferrier is clearly putting her parliamentary salary and access to Westminster perks above the needs of the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who deserve a strong voice at a time when the virus is surging and jobs and living standards are facing such a grave threat.

“Margaret Ferrier has let down her constituents and is now seeking to tough it out solely in her own interests, in the hope that she will be able to cling on.

“Even now more details are emerging about the reckless behaviour from Margaret Ferrier, with reports about her attending a church service after showing symptoms of Covid.

“I will not tolerate a situation where a community that has already been let down is left voiceless by a lame duck MP who has betrayed the people she was elected to represent after she was elected on an SNP platform less than a year ago.

“Scottish Labour will continue to highlight the outrage of Margaret Ferrier continuing to sit as an MP, with the right to vote on laws that she has brazenly flouted, but which the key workers and families in her constituency have to abide by.”