The unlikely link between President Trump and Margaret Ferrier

Sienna Rodgers
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President Trump has tested positive for Covid-19. We shouldn’t be shocked: he was probably the most likely person on the planet to contract the novel coronavirus, as a rule-defying campaigner in the world’s worst-affected nation. It was only in the debate on Tuesday that he mocked Joe Biden, saying: “I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him he’s got a mask!” The US President was also found this week to be the “single largest driver” of coronavirus misinformation. Who can forget the time he promoted the injection of bleach as a treatment? And ultraviolet light, of course. (“I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what,” Trump told us earlier this year, pointing to his head.) We are living through a truly special era.

Naturally, the chief conspiracy theorist did not self-isolate after learning that his aide was displaying symptoms, but instead attended a fundraiser, joined a roundtable and delivered a speech. Even his behaviour was not as outrageous as that of the SNP’s Margaret Ferrier, however. Her Covid story is possibly more gobsmacking than the infamous Barnard Castle trip. First, after feeling unwell and taking a test, the MP travelled from Glasgow to London by train and gave a speech in the House of Commons. This address paid tribute to NHS key workers, and a clip was proudly tweeted. Next, Ferrier received a positive result… and took a train back to Scotland. Train drivers’ union ASLEF is unsurprisingly furious on behalf of its members, calling the actions “dangerous and disgraceful”.

Scottish Labour’s Richard Leonard has wished Ferrier a speedy recovery but called for a by-election. She has been suspended from the SNP and her colleagues are also urging her to quit parliament, while Ian Blackford is saying she should consider her position. The handling of this debacle has not dragged on for weeks and produced a ridiculous press conference like the one we saw in Downing Street’s rose garden back in May for Cummings. But there are still questions to be asked. Why was the information only made public on Thursday evening? Why did the SNP initially release a statement refusing to suspend the whip until further investigation? If there is a by-election, it will be an interesting one: Rutherglen and Hamilton West has flitted between SNP and Labour since 2010.

Remember to sign up for our event with UK in a Changing Europe, taking place at midday on Tuesday. To discuss the latest developments on Brexit and what exactly Labour’s policy is, we’ll be joined by Anand Menon, Stephen Bush and Rachel Reeves MP. Register here, and have a great weekend.

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