Catholic MP Margaret Ferrier – formerly of the Scottish National Party and now an Independent – is urging her constituents not to trigger a by-election after she attended church with Covid.
The MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West is currently on a 90-day suspension, after she took multiple journeys – including to the House of Commons – whilst awaiting the results of a coronavirus test in 2020, and then caught a train back to Scotland, after testing positive.
Ferrier attended Mass whilst she waited for the results of the test, and gave a reading during the service.
She then travelled from Scotland to London, where she attended a parliamentary debate. That evening, she was informed that she had tested positive for the virus. Instead of checking into a hotel to quarantine in London, as the guidelines dictated, she took the train home to Scotland, to isolate there.
At the time, she was a serving member of the SNP. She had the party whip removed shortly after the allegations came to light.
She was later charged by police and ordered to undertake 270 hours of unpaid work. Following an inquiry, she was suspended from parliament for 3 months.
Voters in her constituency have the right to call for a by-election, if ten per cent of the Rutherglen and Hamilton West electorate sign a petition released today. They have until 30th July to sign. Other political parties in Scotland have already started planning who they'd pick to replace her, if given the chance.
The MP has made a public statement, urging her constituents not to call for a vote. She said: "While parties have already spent months arguing about their candidates for a by-election that has not even been confirmed, they have disregarded the very real issues faced by many in our community.
"That is why so many constituents have expressed to me that they do not want a by-election."
She continued: "If you wish to see me continue as your MP, then do not sign the petition paper."