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Mon, 19 October 2020

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An MP Travelled From Scotland To Parliament With Covid Symptoms, Tested Positive, And Travelled Home Again

An MP Travelled From Scotland To Parliament With Covid Symptoms, Tested Positive, And Travelled Home Again
4 min read

A Scottish National Party politician has issued an apology and has had the party whip suspended after travelling hundreds of miles across the country while infectious with coronavirus.

Margaret Ferrier, the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, travelled 350 miles from her constituency to Parliament on Monday by train after suffering from symptoms of the virus over the weekend.

On Monday night she received a positive result. The next day she travelled back to her home in Scotland, again via train, where she has been self-isolating.

In a statement she said she was sorry for the breach of the rules that mean someone must isolate immediately if they develop symptoms, and continue that isolation if they receive a positive test result.  

SNP Westminster group leader Ian Blackford confirmed the whip had been suspended from Ferrier.

She was also condemned on Twitter by Nicola Sturgeon who said her actions were "utterly indefensible". She would later add on Friday that she had asked Ferrier to resign.

Ferrier, who is the party's manufacturing spokeswoman, said: "There is no excuse for my actions.

"On Saturday afternoon after experiencing mild symptoms, I requested a Covid-19 test, which I took that day. 

"Feeling much better, I then travelled to London by train on Monday to attend Parliament as planned. This was wrong and I am very sorry for the mistake.

"On Monday evening I received a positive test result for Covid-19. I travelled home by train on Tuesday morning by train without seeking advice. This was also wrong, and I am sorry. I have been self-isolating at home ever since."

She spoke in a debate in the House of Commons on Monday night and it is not known whether any other MPs will have to isolate. 

She has also informed the police and Public Health England of her actions.

She had publicly condemned Boris Johnson's adviser Dominic Cummings when he travelled from London to County Durham during the lockdown, in what was widely perceived as being against the rules.

Ian Murray, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary, responding to Ferrier’s statement, said: “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. 
 
“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.”

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