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Stone calls for new rules to remove irresponsible MPs

By Gordon Calder

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North MP Jamie Stone has called for a new mechanism to remove irresponsible MPs from their seats.

He made the plea following the case of Rutherglen and Hamilton West SNP MP Margaret Ferrier, who travelled on a train from London to Glasgow after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Mr Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has urged Ms Ferrier to resign. "She should go and go now," he said.

But Mr Stone also wants parliament to introduce legislation which would make it easier for MPs to be "booted out".

He said: "We will have to take a look at this in Westminster and see if we can tweak the legislation because we cannot allow this sort of thing to happen in the future. There has got to be a quicker mechanism."

Mr Stone is unimpressed by Ms Ferrier's defence that she didn't want to self-isolate in a hotel room for two weeks.

"Whether it's Dominic Cummings, Stanley Johnson or Margaret Ferrier, my position will remain the same – anyone in a position of power has a duty to do the right thing," he said. "Getting through this pandemic requires public trust but that's continuously being eroded, which is a disaster for democracy.

"We desperately need stronger mechanisms to boot out MPs guilty of undermining public trust and we also need mechanisms for outing unaccountable bureaucrats like Mr Cummings.

"We all make mistakes – I'll be the first to admit I've made many – but it's no wonder people do not trust politicians when we say one thing and do another."

In an interview with a national newspaper, Ms Ferrier claimed the virus "makes you act out of character" and described her actions as "a blip". The 60-year-old MP said she "panicked" and insisted she follows the rules.

Ms Ferrier faced calls to quit after travelling from Glasgow to London with Covid-19 symptoms last month, then returning home after testing positive.

The SNP suspended her and the Metropolitan Police is said to be investigating the incident.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Ms Ferrier should resign.

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