Covid-19 rule-breaker MP Margaret Ferrier says was ‘hung out to dry’ by SNP

Margaret Ferrier has said she will continue as an MP
Margaret Ferrier has said she will continue as an MP - (Copyright PA Archive)
10:27am, Mon 12 Oct 2020
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Margaret Ferrier has claimed she was “hung out to dry” by the SNP after posting a scripted statement in which she admitted breaching coronavirus rules, it has been reported.

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP had the party whip withdrawn after travelling while awaiting the results of a Covid-19 test.

In an interview with The Scottish Sun, published on Monday, she said the whip was withdrawn around an hour after the statement was released – a decision she feels was based on the public outcry over her actions.

The former SNP MP has previously said the infection caused her to act “out of character” and she “panicked” before taking the train trip back to Scotland

She has said she has no intention of standing down as an MP.

Ms Ferrier told the newspaper that party officials had prepared the admission statement for her and she initially did not understand their “urgency” during a virtual meeting to discuss the situation.

You can imagine how sad and angry I was

She said: “I just felt it was very pushy. You’ve just been told you have Covid. You’re stressed, with a lot of things going through your mind.

“You’re wanting somebody to help you. I said at that point: ‘Hang on a minute – as soon as this goes out am I going to be bombarded with abuse?’

“They were not considering the fact that I had only been diagnosed with Covid and I don’t know how that’s going to affect my mental state.

“It just went crazy. I still haven’t looked at Twitter but I have heard about it.”

The MP said another conference call took place at 6.52pm the same day, during which she was told the party whip was being suspended.

Describing the call, she said: “They were sorry. They were going to have to take the whip off me but I would get back in because I was co-operating and had been honest.

“Losing the whip was more of a slap in the face because of all the hard work that I have done for the party since I joined it.

“I could appreciate the party’s decision at the time. They told me they would be able to contain this situation.

“Why suddenly have we got to the point where they have to take the whip from me?”

She added: “It was because the statement went out and it escalated.

“They  pushed me to make a self-referral to the standards commissioner straight away.

“I was intending to refer myself anyway. You can imagine how sad and angry I was.

“I felt I was being hung out to dry.”

Coronavirus – Tue Sep 22, 2020 - (Copyright PA Wire)

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford discussed Ms Ferrier on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Monday.

He said she had “breached the trust of her constituents” and removing the whip was the limit of what he could do.

Mr Blackford encouraged her to resign as an MP and said the guidance for MPs around coronavirus is clear.

He added: “The idea that Margaret as an elected politician didn’t know what the requirements are is a bit fanciful to say the least.”

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