SNP split over coronavirus MP Margaret Ferrier as ally makes sensational claim she is a victim of ‘trial by media’ as Nicola Sturgeon leads calls for her to quit for travelling hundreds of miles to the Commons while infected with Covid-19
- George Kerevan suggested that in some ways London trip by MP was ‘heroic’
- Attacked ‘virtue signalling and rush to consign her to political outer darkness’
- First Minister yesterday repeated her call for Ms Ferrier to resign Rutherglen seat
George Kerevan used a newspaper article to suggest his friend had been subjected to a ‘feeding frenzy’ by the press
The Scottish National Party was mired in division today over the treatment of coronavirus MP Margaret Ferrier after one of her allies said she had been abandoned to ‘trial by media’.
George Kerevan used a newspaper article to suggest his friend had been subjected to a ‘feeding frenzy’ and suggested that in some ways it had been ‘heroic’ to go to London.
Ms Ferrier was stripped of the SNP whip and sparked a huge alert in Westminster last week after admitting travelling from Glasgow to the capital and back by train – a round trip of some 800 miles – while ill with coronavirus.
But despite risking the health of the public and politicians, and facing a police investigation, she has so far resisted calls to resign her Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday repeated her call for Ms Ferrier to go, mistakenly calling her ‘Margaret Covid’ at a press conference.
Writing in the independence-backing The National newspaper, former East Lothian MP Mr Keravan said she was guilty of a ‘lapse of judgement’ to travel to London, which was made ‘a thousand times worse’ when she went back to Scotland by train the next day.
But he added: ‘As a result, her political career is dead in the water, whether she resigns her seat or not.
All that said, I feel deeply for Margaret and find much of the virtue signalling and rush to consign her to political outer darkness both hypocritical and a blatantly self-serving. Margaret Ferrier, in my experience, always put the job before her personal convenience.
‘I can perfectly understand her motivation in travelling down to London and Westminster – something few SNP MPs do with any relish.
‘She went there – ill-advised as her decision was – to give her Scottish constituents a voice and to try to hold the incompetent, flailing, useless, arrogant, racist ‘government’ (I use the word loosely) of Boris Johnson to account.
‘Personally, I find that somewhat heroic.’
Ms Ferrier was stripped of the SNP whip and sparked a huge alert in Westminster last week after admitting travelling from Glasgow to the capital and back by train – a round trip of some 800 miles – while ill with coronavirus
Ms Ferrier sparked uproar last week when she revealed she travelled by train to London from Scotland on September 28 while awaiting the results of a Covid test taken the previous weekend, and then travelled back the following day after being told the test was positive.
The Metropolitan Police is investigating the journeys along with British Transport Police over potential breaches of the Health Protection Regulations 2020.
Ms Ferrier could face a £4,000 fine for a first-time offence of ‘recklessly’ coming into contact with others when she should have been self-isolating under a law that came into force on the day of her positive test.
Yesterday Ms Sturgeon repeated her appeal to Ms Ferrier to resign her seat and trigger a by-election, while defending her party’s handling of the case, saying it had ‘acted to the maximum of what we can do’.
Ms Ferrier had the whip removed when her trips became public but the party has no power to strip her of the seat she won in 2019, having previously represented it between 2015 and 2017.
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie called for the use of the recall process to unseat Ms Ferrier if she refuses to stand aside.
She would have to be suspended from the House of Commons for at least 10 sitting days, or at least 14 days if sitting days are not specified.
A by-election could then be forced if 10% of her constituents in Rutherglen and Hamilton West signed a recall a petition.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has called for Ms Ferrier to be expelled from the SNP.
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