Margaret Ferrier has become an embarrassment and must quit now - comment

The fact that Margaret Ferrier is continuing to draw a wage from the Houses of Parliament is an embarrassment for the SNP and an insult to her constituents.

Sunday, 11th October 2020, 1:20 pm
Margaret Ferrier has insisted she will not stand down
Margaret Ferrier has insisted she will not stand down

Over the weekend the Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP told a tabloid newspaper that travelling across the country in breach of coronavirus rules was “out of character” and that she “panicked”.

She said she had no intention of standing down and insisted ‘I'll keep fighting for my constituents because that's who I am’.

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Fine, we all make mistakes. But we also have to pay for those mistakes and when it comes to a breach as serious as this, there remains only one course of action – to go and go now.

That she can even consider remaining in post is unfathomable.

She talks of support that she has received locally, but how many more constituents who have lost loved ones or have been forced into hardship to comply with Covid regulations will share that view?

Most unbelievably, her boss has repeatedly told her to stand down, and repeated that demand yesterday.

We have some sympathy with the position which Nicola Sturgeon finds herself in here, in attempting to retain the moral high ground while seemingly unable to force one of her own MPs to do the honourable thing.

Every day Margaret Ferrier remains as an SNP MP, that position is eroded, and the success of the Scottish Government’s messaging in trying to impose tough new restrictions is impacted.

That is a tough sell for many and as businesses shut up shop across the Central Belt, they need support, clear guidance and most importantly the knowledge that we are all on the same side in tackling this devastating pandemic. Whatever way you look at it, innocent lapse of judgment or not, Margaret Ferrier remaining as an MP merely stokes the narrative that there is one rule for the ruling classes and another for everyone else.

Ms Ferrier insisted she “owned up and apologised profusely”, but that is not enough. A public figure has to retain the confidence of those they represent and that disappeared as soon as the 350-mile train journey emerged. A recall petition is now likely but it should never have come to that.