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Sturgeon calls under-fire MP ‘Margaret Covid’ again in second briefing slip

By PA News

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Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called a beleaguered SNP MP “Margaret Covid” for the second time.

Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier admitted on Thursday she had travelled to London while awaiting results for a Covid-19 test, and back to Glasgow after the screening showed she was positive, both by train.

Ms Sturgeon and other senior SNP figures have called for her to go, but the MP remained silent over the weekend about her future.

The First Minister announced on Twitter she had told Ms Ferrier, who she described as a friend, she should step down.

Ms Ferrier had the SNP whip removed when the trips became public (Parliament TV/PA)
Ms Ferrier had the SNP whip removed when the trips became public (Parliament TV/PA)

Asked at the daily coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh about when the SNP knew the circumstances of Ms Ferrier’s trip, the First Minister said: “Patrick Grady (SNP chief whip) didn’t know last Monday or Tuesday that Margaret Covid has suspected or confirmed Covid.”

Ms Sturgeon made the same slip of the tongue at the briefing on Friday, when she denounced Ms Ferrier’s conduct and said she believed she should step down as an MP.

The First Minister repeated her appeal to the MP on Monday, while defending her party’s handling of the case, saying it had “acted to the maximum of what we can do”.

Ms Ferrier had the whip removed when her trips became public.

Earlier, the leader of the SNP at Westminster called on Ms Ferrier “to do the honourable thing” and resign.

Margaret has to respect the fact there’s been a breach of trust between her and the electorate
Ian Blackford

Ian Blackford told the Daily Telegraph Ms Ferrier should resign to save her “self-respect and dignity”.

“Margaret has to respect the fact there’s been a breach of trust between her and the electorate,” he said.

“She has to preserve her own self-respect and dignity and do the honourable thing.

“A failure to resign on her own terms means she will face a parliamentary standards inquiry. Nobody knows where that will go but she runs the risk of having her fate being taken out of her hands.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie called for the use of the recall process to unseat Ms Ferrier if she refuses to stand aside.

She would have to be suspended from the House of Commons for at least 10 sitting days, or at least 14 days if sitting days are not specified.

A by-election could then be forced if 10% of her constituents in Rutherglen and Hamilton West signed a recall a petition.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has called for Ms Ferrier to be expelled from the SNP.

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