SNP MP Margaret Ferrier avoids police action over Covid-19 trip

SNP MP Margaret Ferrier will face no further action from the Metropolitan Police after she travelled between London and Glasgow following a positive Covid-19 test.

Thursday, 15th October 2020, 3:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th October 2020, 7:21 pm
Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly called for Margaret Ferrier to resign as an MP
Nicola Sturgeon has repeatedly called for Margaret Ferrier to resign as an MP

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP had the SNP whip removed after it emerged she made the trip from Glasgow to the House of Commons while waiting for results of a test she took on 26 September and made the return journey after being informed she had the virus.Amid mounting pressure for her to resign her seat, Ms Ferrier has held on and the Metropolitan Police has now said in a statement that regulations under which Ms Ferrier could have been punished were not in effect when she travelled.

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In a statement on their investigation into Ms Ferrier, the Metropolitan Police said detectives investigated her account of taking a train between London and Glasgow, having tested positive for coronavirus.

The force said: "Detectives tested the MP's account including obtaining and reviewing CCTV and undertaking inquiries to establish the dates of the tests, results and travel arrangements.

"Officers considered possible offences including those under Reg 11(2) of the Health Protection Regulations 2020 which relates to self-isolation requirement.

"However, on detailed examination of this new legislation, and following legal advice, it was concluded that this regulation is applicable only after the 28th September 2020.

"In this case the test occurred prior to the 29th September 2020 and therefore the regulation does not apply."

The force said it is taking no further action, but has referred the matter to Police Scotland for consideration.

But in a statement posted on Twitter, Police Scotland has not ruled out pursuing action against Ms Ferrier.

A statement said: “We are aware of the decision by @metpoliceuk.

“We will now assess the circumstances and consult with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service before taking a decision on next steps."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she does not have the power to expel Ms Ferrier from the party and that due process must be followed before such a step is undertaken.

A spokesman for the SNP said: “Police Scotland and the parliamentary standards commissioner are still considering matters.

“It is important that due process is followed and we will not be offering further comment. Ms Ferrier remains suspended from the SNP.”

Since news of her trips broke, the MP has faced increasing calls for her resignation, including from Ms Sturgeon, who has repeatedly called for her to stand down.

On Thursday, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the public would be furious that Ms Ferrier "might get off", adding the SNP must expel her from the party permanently.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard have also been among those pushing for Ms Ferrier – who beat Labour’s Ged Killen for the seat last year – to go.

In an interview with The Scottish Sun, Ms Ferrier said she felt she was “hung out to dry” by the SNP, which withdrew the whip from her one hour after she released a statement detailing her actions.

She also said she had no intention of standing down.

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