Margaret Ferrier refuses to quit and says 800-mile round trip from Scotland to Commons was a 'blip'
A video from footage broadcast by the Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) of the UK Parliament shows the Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Margaret Ferrier speaking at the House of Commons in London on September 28, 2020 - AFP
Margaret Ferrier has defied calls to resign as an MP on her 800 mile round trip from Scotland to the Commons while suffering from coronavirus, claiming her actions were a "slip up".
Rutherglen and Hamilton West MPs blamed "jumbled rules" for the journey they made by train, and posted "friends and colleagues" who urged them to stop.
She insisted she wouldn't step down and trigger a by-election, claiming Covid "makes you act out of character" and she "wasn't thinking clearly" when she made the trip.
The SNP robbed her of the party whip because she had endangered people's lives, but has yet to expel her from the party.
Ms Ferrier said she was "extremely shocked" when she received her test result two days after showing symptoms of Covid-19 and being tested in Scotland.
But her demeanor has been rated "exceptionally arrogant" by Annie Wells, a Tory MSP. She said, "She put life in danger. Time to go."
Nicola Sturgeon with Maragret Ferrier in the 2019 general election campaign - PA
Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her call to Ms. Ferrier to resign, but insisted that her party must go through a "due process" before being expelled.
Mrs Ferrier's refusal to quit is deeply embarrassing to Mrs Sturgeon after the Prime Minister personally asked the MP, whom she referred to as a friend, to quit on a telephone.
The Metropolitan Police has opened an investigation into a possible violation of coronavirus laws and is facing a separate investigation from Commons.
It is assumed that the SNP bosses believe that she will be suspended by parliament for at least 10 session days or 14 consecutive days. This is the yardstick that could allow their constituents to call them back and force a by-election.
However, they are extremely concerned that the longer Mrs Ferrier holds on to it, the more damage it will do to Mrs Sturgeon's public health message to the Scottish people and their personal authority.
Ms. Ferrier told The Sun on Sunday that she "panicked" but firmly believed that she had followed the rules correctly.
Speaking of the backlash, she said, "You feel like you get a lot of criticism from people who you thought were your co-workers or friends who would understand it was a single mistake."
She told the newspaper: "It was a terrible experience, but I will keep fighting for my constituents because I am."
The 60-year-old visits a beauty salon, gym and gift shop on the day she first showed symptoms on Saturday, September 26, and even bought a face mask.
Later that same day, she traveled to a Covid testing center after feeling increasingly uncomfortable. However, the next morning she gave a reading in church.
However, she took the train to London on Monday while waiting for the results because she "felt a lot better" and spoke in a debate on the Commons coronavirus at 7.15pm that evening.
She found out about her positive test result that evening shortly after speaking in the House of Commons and told the SNP Whips she had to return to Scotland because of a family illness.
Commons authorities were informed that she had the virus on Sept. 30, but it did not appear until the following day that she had been tested previously, not after her trip to London.
Ms. Ferrier said, "A lot of people say Covid makes you do things outside of character. You don't think clearly.
"At that moment, when I thought it was going to be negative and positive, I was totally shocked. You could have knocked me over ...
"It can be a grave error of assessment. I don't deny it. People may say, 'You should have known better, you are a public figure' - but at the end of the day it still hurts. You then think 'Is all that hard work and dedication just wiped away?'
Ms Ferrier said that the rules "have changed and become so mixed up" in recent months.
She also attacked critics who compared her to Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister's aide, who traveled 260 miles to be around relatives at the height of the pandemic.
Ms. Sturgeon told Sky News' Sophy Ride, "I read the comments in the media today and I still hope she'll do the right thing."
“We suspended her from party membership. We now have a due process to go through.
"I cannot unilaterally decide to exclude someone. We have a process and the SNP in this process will run its course. We have done everything we can in this phase with regard to SNP membership."
"No party leader has the power to remove a member of parliament, but I couldn't be clearer that she should leave parliament unacceptably that I don't think there is any other acceptable course of action for her."
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