Richard Leonard calls for Sturgeon to back recall motion for Margaret Ferrier

The Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, has called on First Minister to support a recall petition against an SNP MP, who broke coronavirus laws, if she does not resign by Sunday evening.

Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 2:08 pm
Updated Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 2:10 pm

On Thursday evening, Margaret Ferrier MP admitted that she made a journey from Glasgow to Westminster by train and spoke in Parliament, despite developing symptoms of Covid-19 - meaning, by law, that she should have been self-isolating.

She also admitted to returning to Glasgow by train after having tested positive for the virus.

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The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP apologised for her actions, but stopped short of resigning, despite a barrage of criticism from political allies and opponents alike.

At her daily press conference on Friday afternoon, Ms Sturgeon told reporters that Ms Ferrier’s actions were “utterly indefensible”, and made clear that she thought the MP should step down.

This morning, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard told followers on Twitter: “If Margaret Ferrier does not step down over the weekend, I am calling on Nicola Sturgeon to work with me - provided Ms Ferrier is suspended from the Commons for 10 sitting days - to support a recall petition to remove her from office.”

The First Minister is yet to respond to Mr Leonard’s call for action.

What is a recall petition?

The Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, has called on First Minister to support a recall petition against an SNP MP who broke coronavirus laws if she does not resign by Sunday evening.
The Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, has called on First Minister to support a recall petition against an SNP MP who broke coronavirus laws if she does not resign by Sunday evening.

The Recall of MPs Act (2015) allows constituents to recall their Member of Parliament and hold a by-election to replace them.

Before a petition can be started, an MP must be found guilty of a specific wrongdoing.

The Speaker of the House of Commons could trigger a recall petition by suspending a member for at least 10 days.

Such a suspension would be grounds for a recall petition to be initiated.

If at least 10 per cent of eligible voters in a constituency sign the recall petition, their Member of Parliament will be forced to vacate their seat, and a by-election will be called.

There have only been three recall petitions mounted since 2015. One, against North Antrim MP Ian Paisley Jr in 2018, was unsuccessful.

Two others in 2019, against Labour’s Fiona Onasanya and the Conservative’s Christopher Davies, were successful.

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