Police launch probe into MP Margaret Ferrier's 'coronavirus rule breaking'


Police have launched an investigation into MP Margaret Ferrier, over alleged breaches of coronavirus rules.

The MP, who was last night suspended from the SNP over the journeys, faces calls to stand down from Parliament after she travelled 800 miles on public transport while suffering from Covid-19.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “An investigation is under way into reported breaches of the Health Protection Regulations 2020.

“On Thursday, October 1, a Member of Parliament contacted Police Scotland to report she may have breached legislation and guidance relating to Covid-19.

“This related to her actions earlier this week, including a train journey on Tuesday September 29 between London and Glasgow, following a positive Covid-19 test.

“Following consultation with Police Scotland, officers from the Metropolitan Police, working with British Transport Police, are conducting an investigation into potential offences.

“The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has been informed.”


Ms Ferrier today faces mounting calls to resign as an MP completely.

She lost the SNP whip last night but neither Parliament nor the party have the power to sack her as an MP.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the MP’s actions were “reckless, dangerous and completely indefensible” and were “possibly the worst breach imaginable”.

She said she had spoken to Ms Ferrier and “made crystal clear to her that she should now resign as an MP”.

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Ms Ferrier breached rules at least five times when she travelled from Glasgow to London and back again by public transport while having the virus.

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Her symptoms began on Saturday and she ordered a test, but she then travelled to Parliament while waiting for the result. The result came back positive on Monday night – around the same time she gave a speech in a Covid debate.

Yet she then took a train 400 miles back home the following morning, and only told the SNP on Wednesday.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle stopped short of demanding Ms Ferrier quit but said she had put Commons staff at risk – and “made it worse” by only telling her party on Wednesday.

Ms Ferrier gave a speech in Parliament on Monday, after she started experiencing symptoms

In a rare attack on an individual MP, he told Sky News: “This is a dangerous, dangerous thing to do.”

Downing Street said one person had been identified as having close contact with Ms Ferrier when she was in Westminster.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford today said Ms Ferrier had broken the law, adding: “I think she will have to reflect very carefully as to whether or not she can continue as a member of parliament for her constituents.”

Unlike most MPs, Ms Ferrier does not have a taxpayer-funded London flat because she stays in hotel rooms instead.

But she admitted she did not take advice before her trip.

And she had previously repeatedly demanded Dominic Cummings resign for travelling to Durham while he had symptoms.

Ian Murray, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary said: “This is astonishing recklessness from an SNP MP, which has put people’s health at risk.

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“Through her irresponsible actions, she very possibly has passed on the virus to a vulnerable person, who may now have COVID-19 and be in danger. She has put passengers, rail staff, fellow MPs, Commons staff and many others at unacceptable risk.

“To breach the rules twice is simply unforgivable, and has undermined all the sacrifices made by her constituents.

“Nicola Sturgeon must come out and condemn her MP’s actions and tell the Scottish people what disciplinary action she will be taking. There cannot be one rule for Margaret Ferrier, another for everybody else.”

Parliamentary rules mean it is almost completely impossible to sack Ms Ferrier as an MP for her breach.

She would only face a “recall petition” from her constituents if she was convicted of a criminal offence, rather than receiving an on-the-spot fine. She could also face recall if suspended for more than 10 sitting days for breaching Commons rules.

It is illegal in England – including for people who tested positive in Scotland – to leave self-isolation after receiving a positive test result and those “recklessly” leaving self-isolation face a £4,000 fine.

But it is possible Ms Ferrier did not technically break the law because there are a string of exemptions.

These include allowing people to “move to a different place” to self-isolate “where it becomes impracticable to remain at the address at which they are.”

Meanwhile the law also only came in on Monday, and applies to people who test positive “pursuant to a test after 28th September 2020”.

While Ms Ferrier received her positive result on September 28, the test itself was on September 26.

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