Richard Leonard has launched a petition demanding that under-pressure politician Margaret Ferrier quits her role in parliament and declared that he “will not tolerate” a situation where residents were “left voiceless by a lame-duck MP”.
The Scottish Labour leader has argued that the MP, who broke lockdown rules after having contracted Covid, was putting her salary above her constituents as he unveiled his “Rutherglen and Hamilton West deserves better” online petition today.
Commenting this morning, Leonard said: “It is truly breathtaking that Margaret Ferrier remains an MP nearly a week after the utterly shocking facts about her making long-distance train journeys while infected by Covid became public.
“Margaret Ferrier is clearly putting her parliamentary salary and access to Westminster perks above the needs of the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who deserve a strong voice at a time when the virus is surging and jobs and living standards are facing such a grave threat.
“Margaret Ferrier has let down her constituents and is now seeking to tough it out solely in her own interests, in the hope that she will be able to cling on.
“Even now more details are emerging about the reckless behaviour from Margaret Ferrier, with reports about her attending a church service after showing symptoms of Covid.
“As Scottish Labour leader, I will not tolerate a situation where a community that has already been let down, is left voiceless by a lame-duck MP, who has betrayed the people she was elected to represent after she was elected on an SNP platform less than a year ago.
“Scottish Labour will continue to highlight the outrage of Margaret Ferrier continuing to sit as an MP, with the right vote on laws, that she has brazenly flouted, but which the key workers and families in her constituency have to abide by. Rutherglen and Hamilton West deserves better and Margaret Ferrier must resign immediately.”
Keir Starmer declared this morning that it “beggars belief that Margaret Ferrier thinks it is appropriate to continue as an MP”, ahead of a ‘Call Keir’ event that the Labour leader will be holding via Zoom with residents in her constituency today.
The MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who was elected to represent the SNP but has now had the whip suspended, is facing calls to quit parliament after it was revealed that she travelled from Glasgow to London and back with Covid-19.
She has said that she felt unwell and took a coronavirus test before embarking on a 380-mile train journey to London, while waiting for the result instead of self-isolating, and delivered a speech on Covid in the House of Commons.
The Scottish MP then received a positive result and again chose not to self-isolate but took another train to return to Glasgow. She apologised in a statement last week for the behaviour, which led to a police investigation.
Leonard’s intervention today follows a previous call from the Scottish Labour leader for the SNP to kick Ferrier out of the party, saying on Monday that it was the “only step available to the SNP leadership now”.