Today’s sentencing is for an MP who traveled by train from London to Scotland, knowing she had Covid-19.
After experiencing symptoms like a heavy cough and a heavy sigh, Margaret Ferrier sought out a test for the virus in September 2020. While she waited for the results, Margaret Ferrier traveled to Glasgow from London and around both of these cities.
The train she took had 183 people on board.
The MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West also spoke in the Houses of Parliament and visited other areas and venues in London, whilst waiting for the test result.
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Ferrier admitted that she had exposed people to the virus before a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court earlier this year.
The court heard that after testing positive for the virus and subsequently taking the train home to Glasgow, the next day she read to a congregation of around 45 people at a mass in St Mungo’s Church, before heading to Vic’s bar in Main Street, Prestwick, South Ayrshire.
After her guilty plea, the MP has been rebuffed by Commons members who want her to resign. Ferrier has previously said she “deeply regretted” her actions but has so far refused to resign as an MP.
In 2015, the SNP landslide saw the party win 56 of the 59 Scottish seats.
Since then, she has lost the whip and is now an independent.
In May 2020, she was one of the MPs who called on the prime minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings to resign after controversy over his visit to the North East of England during lockdown.
At the time, she said his actions had “undermined the sacrifices that we have all been making in lockdown to protect each other from coronavirus”, describing his position as “untenable”.
After it emerged Ferrier had travelled with Covid symptoms, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned her actions as “dangerous and indefensible”.
Later, the leader SNP demanded that she resign as MP.
A sentence of 12 month would automatically mean that she would be no longer allowed to serve as an MP.
However, any time she spends in prison could result in her being subject to a recall petition. This would trigger a byelection if 10% sign up. Ferrier could be suspended from the Commons for a period of 10 days or more.
A by-election would be highly contestable by the SNP or Labour, as the seat has been split between them in the past three general elections.