NICOLA Sturgeon has called on the SNP MP Margaret Ferrier who brought coronavirus to the Commons to QUIT for her “dangerous and indefensible actions”.
Ms Ferrier has been hounded by a handful of her own colleagues to resign after she travelled from London to Scotland and back with coronavirus.
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Ms Ferrier confessed to her massive Covid-rule breach last night.
Ms Sturgeon said this morning: “I’ve spoken to Margaret Ferrier and made clear my view that she should step down as an MP.
“I did so with a heavy heart – she is a friend & colleague – but her actions were dangerous and indefensible.
“I have no power to force an MP to resign but I hope she will do the right thing.”
Ms Sturgeon said Ms Ferrier’s breach was of the “worst kind”.
She told a briefing this lunchtime: “The one rule that has been clear and unchanging throughout this, is the rule to self isolate when you have symptoms and get tested and then if you test positive to absolutely make sure you complete (self-isolation).
“This is not a minor breach of the rules, this is not an inadvertent breach of the rules, it’s really flagrant and dangerous breach of the rules.
“Travelling on a train when you know you’re positive with Covid is possibly the worst breach imaginable.
“I have made crystal clear to her that she should now resign as an MP.”
The MP for Rutherglen & Hamilton West in Scotland became sick over the weekend and took a coronavirus test on Saturday afternoon.
But bizarrely, once Ms Ferrier started feeling better she travelled four hours from Scotland to London on Monday morning before getting her result back.
Scottish coronavirus laws direct anyone with symptoms who has taken a coronavirus test to self-isolate until the results come back.
Ms Ferrier spoke in the House of Commons later that day, during a “General debate on Covid-19” – before receiving a positive result back on Monday evening.
The MP then made the 400-mile return journey by train on Tuesday morning, despite knowing she had the virus and risking infecting others.
Ms Ferrier reported herself to cops and now faces a £4,000 fine if her actions are deemed “reckless”.
How it happened:
- Ms Ferrier broke the coronavirus rule and travelled from Scotland to Parliament
- SNP leader in Westminster Ian Blackford found out about her shocking beach yesterday morning
- Ms Ferrier has had the SNP whip suspended
- A DUP MP is now self-isolating after sitting at a table with Ms Ferrier
In her statement she said she “deeply regretted” her actions and took “full responsibility”.
Ms Ferrier has been blasted by a handful of her own colleagues with some calling for her resignation since her admission.
DUP MP Jim Shannon is now self isolating after sitting at the same table as the infected MP.
A spokesperson for the DUP said: “Jim Shannon was seated at the same dining table as Margaret Ferrier on Monday evening.
“The room seating arrangements included proper social distancing measures.
“Upon receiving this news, Mr Shannon immediately self-isolated and on Thursday afternoon he received a negative Covid-19 test.”
One person is self-isolating after being in close contact with her and Parliament has had special cleaning teams in to scrub off any germs.
A statement from the House of Commons said: “We can confirm the individual identified through contract tracing as a close contact to Margaret Ferrier has tested negative for Coronavirus.
Downing Street has said Boris Johnson believes everyone must follow the coronavirus rules, but refused to be drawn on whether Margaret Ferrier should step down as an MP.
A No 10 spokesman said: “That is a matter for her and her party. We have been clear of the need for people to follow the rules. This is all about saving lives and protecting vulnerable people.
“The Prime Minister has been clear that everybody needs to follow the rules in order to allow us to reduce the spread of the virus and protect lives.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford blasted Ms Ferrier’s actions as “inexcusable”.
He told BBC News: “I have expressed my anger… the case here is pretty clear. She had a test for Covid-19 and while waiting for the results of that test she travelled by train to London.
“There is no defence for such behaviour I’m afraid, as a public figure, you’ve got to recognise you’ll be held up to public scrutiny and be judged on the things that you do.”
“Margaret is going to have to reflect very carefully on the actions and will have to consider her position in the light of all of this.”
When pressed on whether Ms Ferrier will resign, Mr Blackford repeated she needs to reflect, saying: “I’m afraid that when you break the law, because that’s what this is… she will have to reflect very carefully as to whether she can continued as a member of Parliament.”
Mr Blackford said he found out about Ms Ferrier’s actions on Thursday morning.
SNP sources told Sky News that SNP whips were told on Tuesday that Ms Ferrier had gone home “because a family member was unwell”.
Then on Wednesday they were told of the positive test, but assumed she had had a quick result and didn’t know she had been tested over the weekend.
Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle lambasted Ms Ferrier’s actions this morning.
He said: “We only got told on Wednesday while I was in the chair, (at) about 4pm.
“We reacted immediately to the news we had been given. This is completely reckless behaviour for an MP to put staff and fellow MPs is not acceptable.
“I certainly would expect better, it’s something what made it worse was only being told on Wednesday, something that was known about on Monday.
“Within 20 minutes we were into full swing on what we needed to do to ensure safety of staff member, to make sure everything was right.
“This is now a police investigation. This is a dangerous, dangerous thing to do.”
HEADS MUST ROLL
David Linden, the SNP MP for the Glasgow East constituency next to Ms Ferrier’s, has demanded her resignation.
He told BBC Question Time her actions were “utterly inexcusable”, adding: “I don’t think her position is tenable and she should resign.”
Kirsty Blackman, MP for Aberdeen North, said she agreed with Mr Linden that she “must resign”.
She said: “Margaret’s actions cannot be overlooked”.
MP for Aberdeen South Stephen Flynn said he was “beyond livid” and that it was “impossible to disagree” with calls for her to quit.
“The public will expect nothing less,” Mr Flynn added.
Ian Murray, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary responded to Ms Ferrier’s statement on her Covid-19 diagnosis saying: “This is astonishing recklessness from an SNP MP, which has put people’s health at risk.
“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.”
The Aslef train drivers’ union tweeted: “Rail staff have worked throughout this pandemic to make sure the network could serve the public.
“We’ve worked day in, day out to keep our railway as safe as possible for passengers and staff. For an MP to get on a train knowing she has Covid-19 is both dangerous and disgraceful.”