Covid-shame MP Margaret Ferrier claims the SNP 'hung me out to dry'
Covid-shame MP Margaret Ferrier claims the SNP ‘hung me out to dry’ because of public fury over her cross-Britain journey while infectious after party chiefs told her she would be allowed to KEEP her job
- The politician is yet to resign from Commons despite being stripped of SNP whip
- Ms Ferrier, 60, has since said that Covid ‘makes you act out of character’
- Scotland Yard previously confirmed that it was looking into her admission
Margaret Ferrier has accused her former SNP bosses of hanging her out to dry amid a public backlash over her astonishing cross-Britain rail trip while suffering from Covid-19 – claiming they initially said she would be able to keep her job.
The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP was stripped of the nationalist party’s whip and faces mounting calls to resign her £80,000-per-year job after an 800-mile round trip between her constituency and London.
But she remained defiant today and took aim at her former party, complaining that they forced her to inform police and disregarded her mental and physical health while she was ill.
The 60-year-old told the Scottish Sun the party had already prepared a statement that she shared on social media on October 1, admitting to traveling while ill in a potential breach of lockdown laws.
‘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,’ she said.
‘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?
‘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.’
Ms Ferrier, 60, (pictured with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon) is yet to resign from the Commons despite being stripped of the SNP whip amid calls for her to quit for putting people’s lives at risk
She spoke in the Commons while ill before returning to Scotland, but blamed ‘muddled’ rules
On Sunday Ms Ferrier vowed to stray on as an independent MP, blaming ‘muddled rules’ for her journeys.
She insisted she would not stand down and trigger a by-election, claiming Covid ‘makes you act out of character’.
Ms Ferrier travelled by train to London from Scotland while awaiting the results of a Covid test at the end of last month.
She spoke in the Commons that night and then travelled back to Scotland the following day after being told the test was positive.
Images on her Twitter page showed her in several public places likely to have been busy on a Saturday – the day she took the test – including the Vanilla Salon and South Lanarkshire Eastfield Lifestyle leisure centre in Rutherglen, and Sweet P gift shop in Burnside.
Ms Ferrier today attacked the SNP for rushing out a statement admitting what she had done, which including saying she had told the police before she had actually done do.
She said they gave her just five minutes notice that it was to go out, saying: ‘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.’
Scotland Yard previously confirmed that it was investigating the MP over alleged breaches of coronavirus laws designed to prevent those infected from passing it on to others.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday repeated her call for Ms Ferrier to quit.
Confirming steps were also being taken that could see Ms Ferrier also stripped of her SNP membership, the party leader said: ‘I have read the comments in the media today and I still hope that she will do the right thing.’
She added: ‘We suspended her from party membership, we now have a due process we’ve got to go through.
‘I can’t unilaterally decide to expel somebody, we have a process and the SNP in that process will take its course, we’ve done everything in terms of SNP membership that we’re able to do at this stage.
‘No party leader has the power to make an MP resign from Parliament but I couldn’t be clearer, she should step down from Parliament, the lapse of judgment in travelling hundreds of miles knowing she had tested positive for Covid was so significant and so unacceptable that I don’t think there is any other acceptable course of action for her.’
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.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said earlier this week that he was ‘surprised, amazed and shocked’ that Ms Ferrier has not yet resigned.
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