Ian Blackford says MP Margaret Ferrier has 'no excuse' and needs 'to go'

4 October 2020, 12:08 | Updated: 4 October 2020, 12:44

Shamed MP Margaret Ferrier has “got to stand down” because there is “no excuse” for her travelling the length of the country by train after testing positive for coronavirus, an SNP leader said.

Ian Blackford, the nationalist party's Westminster leader, furiously called for the SNP representative to quit, telling LBC’s Swarbrick on Sunday “she has to face the consequences” of breaking Covid-19 rules, an “enormous error of judgement". 

Ms Ferrier travelled from Glasgow to London with symptoms of the virus on Monday, made a speech in Parliament and visited a gym before finding out she had tested positive that evening. 

She then travelled from the capital to Glasgow by train on Tuesday, ignoring the requirement to self-isolate.

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP has lost the Labour whip and faced mounting calls to quit from Mr Blackford and Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, who branded her actions “indefensible”. 

Read more: 'Her position is untenable' - Ferrier faces mounting calls to quit

Margaret Ferrier (L) has been condemned by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Margaret Ferrier (L) has been condemned by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: PA

Mr Blackford told LBC: “There is no excuse, and certainly no excuse for someone who is an elected official who was tested and then travelled down to London and got her results and travelled back. 

"It is a set of circumstances that are wholly unacceptable, I don't know why Margaret did what she did and she has to face the consequences of her actions - and I’m afraid to say, and I do it with absolute sadness and regret, Margaret has got to stand down from her position as Member of Parliament. 

Read more: 'I don't want an apology, I want a resignation' says Ferrier constituent

"She’s lost the trust of the people as a consequence of what she’s done and I find it inexplicable because I know how hard-working an MP she is, I know how dedicated and diligent she is but this is an enormous error of judgement and it saddens me that there have to be the consequences - the consequences are quite clear.”

It comes after the Scottish Labour Party wing called on Ms Sturgeon to back a recall petition that would force Ms Ferrier to resign, if she fails to do so voluntarily. 

Richard Leonard, Scot Labour leader, tweeted: “If Margaret Ferrier does not step down over the weekend, I am calling on @NicolaSturgeon to work with me - provided Ms Ferrier is suspended from the Commons for 10 sitting days - to support a re-call petition to remove her from office.”

The Scottish Tories and Ms Ferrier's own constituents have also demanded she stand down.

The scandal surfaced on Thursday evening when Ms Ferrier tweeted a statement of apology and said she "deeply regretted" her actions.

She has not spoken since after a wave of condemnation, nor hinted whether she intends to continue sitting as an independent MP.