Covid: Margaret Ferrier must come to her senses and resign – Scotsman comment

Margaret Ferrier MP will no doubt be relieved she will not face prosecution in England for travelling on a public train while knowing she was infected with Covid-19.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 12:30 pm
Margaret Ferrier campaigning with Nicola Sturgeon during the 2019 general election campaign (Picture: John Devlin)
Margaret Ferrier campaigning with Nicola Sturgeon during the 2019 general election campaign (Picture: John Devlin)

According to the Metropolitan Police, a law requiring people with the disease to self-isolate came into force the day after she chose to travel from London back to Scotland – so this may have been a narrow escape for the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West. However, she is not certain to be in the clear as Police Scotland are still looking into whether she broke any laws on the Scottish part of her journey. And any relief she feels should be tempered by the fact she does not know whether she infected anyone else.

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When the news first broke, the Scotsman called for her to do the honourable thing and resign as an MP. In doing so, she would have sent out a strong message about how wrong she had been and how much she regretted her actions. This act of contrition could potentially have helped save lives and also restored her shattered reputation.

Instead, she has refused to quit, dismissing her actions as a “blip”, complaining about criticism from “people you thought were your colleagues or friends” and even saying that “Covid makes you do things out of character” in an attempt to gain sympathy.

At a time when the country is tired of Covid and the lockdown, when many people are clearly not taking the situation seriously even as the number of infections rises, Ferrier’s continued defiance of calls from all parties to go is actively undermining efforts to tackle this historic crisis.

Ferrier had a chance to do the right thing when she thought she might have Covid. By travelling from Scotland to London, she failed. She had the chance to do the right thing when she knew she had Covid. By taking a train home, she failed. She had the chance to do the right thing when she realised what she had done. By refusing to resign, she has failed yet again.

If she manages to escape recall, she will be a lame-duck MP until the next election puts an end to her political career. So if she has any sense, she should come to it and go.

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