‘I would urge everyone not to make the same mistakes that I have,’ Margaret Ferrier said
An MP who took a train hundreds of miles from Westminster to her constituency despite knowing she had coronavirus has been suspended from her party and is facing calls to resign.
The Scottish National Party’s Margaret Ferrier originally travelled down to London and attended Parliament while waiting for her
coronavirus test result.
She then spoke in the commons, knowing that she had recently developed symptoms of the disease.
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Once she had a positive result she took a train 400 miles back to Glasgow.
She said there was “no excuse for my actions” and “I apologise unreservedly for breaching
COVID-19 restrictions by travelling this week when I shouldn’t have”.
Ian Blackford, the party’s Westminster leader, said he has suspended Ms Ferrier, who has agreed to refer herself to the parliamentary standards commissioner and the police.
SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her actions were “utterly indefensible”.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the MP’s actions were ‘utterly indefensible’
She added: “It’s hard to express just how angry I feel on behalf of people across the country making hard sacrifices every day to help beat COVID. The rules apply to everyone and they’re in place to keep people safe.”
Fellow SNP MPs David Linden and Kirsty Blackman called on her to resign.
In a statement, the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West said she took a coronavirus test on Saturday, having experienced mild symptoms that day.
“Feeling much better, I then travelled to London by train on Monday to attend Parliament as planned,” she said.
“This was wrong, and I am very sorry for my mistake.”
Gallery: Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak around the world (Photo Services)
A steward walks amid empty seats inside the arena during a rain delay at Roland Garros during the 2020 French Open in Paris, France, on Sept. 27.
First-year students wearing masks attend a commencement ceremony at Wuhan University in China on Sept. 26.
Members of a church choir parade during the celebration of the eve of the Ethiopian Orthodox holiday of Meskel, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sept. 26.
Dancers wearing face shields perform during a practice session at an art and cultural center in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on Sept. 26.
Nuns wearing face masks walk across a street in Rome, Italy, on Sept. 25.
A man sits in an empty cafe in London, England, on Sept. 24.
A man disinfects a tent set up by members of the National Front Anti-AMLO to protest against Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the Zócalo square in Mexico City, Mexico, on Sept. 24.
Children play with bubbles during the opening of kindergarten schools in Bogota, Colombia, on Sept. 23.
A woman walks past a sign that reads “#getcountedNYC” during Phase 4 of reopening in New York City, New York, U.S., on Sept. 22.
Workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) suits attend to customers at a salon in Ahmedabad, India, on Sept. 20.
Worshippers maintain social distancing as they attend Friday prayers after the COVID-19 restrictions were eased, in Kufa mosque, near Najaf, Iraq, on Sept. 18.
Protesters wearing protective masks applaud and hit flight cases as they maintain social distance during a demonstration along the streets of Madrid, Spain, on Sept. 17. Spain saw demonstrations in some 28 cities under the slogan “Red Alert” in a cry for more support for the entertainment and events sector, which has been in paralysis since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant at a sauna and spa center in preparation for its reopening, in Hong Kong on Sept. 16.
A teacher checks the body temperature of students at a government school in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sept. 15. Educational institutes were reopened in the country nearly six months after the spread of the coronavirus.
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi waves as he leaves the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, on Sept. 14. He was hospitalized since Sept. 3, after testing positive for coronavirus.
New York City firefighters wear face masks as they pause outside of Engine Company 10 and Ladder Company 10 across from One World Trade Center, the Freedom Tower, in lower Manhattan, New York, U.S., during commemoration ceremonies for the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on Sept. 11. Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, only family members were allowed to gather at the 9/11 Memorial plaza.
Municipal employees greet during a campaign to promote the keeping of safety distances against the spread of the coronavirus in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, on Sept. 10.
People wear protective face masks as they look at a smart robot nucleic acid swab test during the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) at Beijing Olympic Park in China on Sept. 6.
Participants in protective face masks attend the 4th Edition of the Equality Parade in Katowice, Poland, on Sept. 5.
Employees of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) sanitize a coach during a media preview as the Delhi Metro network prepares to resume services partially after more than five months shutdown, in New Delhi, India, on Sept. 3.
Residents of the highland city of Puno wait to be tested for free for COVID-19 during a municipal campaign in Peru on Sept. 2.
A girl wearing a protective face mask to help prevent spread of the coronavirus holds her doll as she attends a mourning ceremony to commemorate the 7th-century death of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein, one of Shiite Islam’s most beloved saints, at the Tehran University Musalla, Iran, on Aug. 29. The organizers arranged for the processions to take place with physical distancing, made face masks mandatory, checked mourners’ body temperature and had them use hand sanitizers in an attempt to keep the gathering safe.
Workers of the local government disinfect a woman and her house as a preventive measure, in the municipality of Xochimilco in Mexico City, Mexico, on Aug. 26.
Santas have their temperature taken as they attend a socially distanced Santa school training at Southwark Cahedral in London, England, on Aug. 24.
A sign outside the Hollywood Hotel in Surry Hills warning people to keep their distance, in Sydney, Australia, on Aug. 22.
Public officials disinfect pews at the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, on Aug. 21.
Military personnel from the Brazilian Armed Forces sanitize a bus at the Santa Candida bus terminal in Curitiba, Brazil, on Aug. 10.
A teacher, wearing a face shield as a precaution against the coronavirus outbreak, speaks to her students in a makeshift classroom at her residence in Tangerang, Indonesia, on Aug. 10.
A Vietnamese woman carries a stuffed animal while boarding a repatriation flight from Singapore to Vietnam, at Changi Airport in Singapore on Aug. 7.
Two women in traditional kimonos wear face masks as they visit Sensō-ji temple in Tokyo, Japan on Aug. 7.
A man walks past a sign on a truck in Melbourne, Australia, on Aug. 5.
An artist gives finishing touches to a mural depicting frontline workers, in Kolkata, India, on Aug. 5.
Pilgrims wearing face masks and keeping social distance perform Tawaf around Kaaba during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on July 31.
A sanitation worker wearing personal protective equipment disinfects common areas of a public school in Brasilia, Brazil, on July 31.
A municipal employee teaches a user to use the thermometer of a Transmetro station in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on July 31.
Bar and restaurant owners demonstrate asking the government to allow them to reopen their businesses given the difficult economic situation they are going through during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Cali, Colombia, on July 31.
Anthony Fauci (R), director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Representative Carolyn Maloney wear protective masks while greeting each other with an elbow bump in Washington, D.C., U.S., on July 31.
A man wearing a face mask has his temperature checked before being allowed to go into Manchester Central Mosque in England on July 31.
A healthcare worker passes paperwork to a woman in a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing site outside of Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, U.S., on July 27.
A disinfection worker wearing protective gear sprays disinfectant on a medical worker after they perform mass swab tests for the coronavirus disease at a boarding school in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on July 29.
Customers sit with a teddy bear used to keep social distancing measures at a restaurant in Polanco neighborhood of Mexico City, Mexico, on July 26.
Nurses in PPE kits discuss before they start their duty of door-to-door screening in Pune, India, on July 20.
A woman wearing a face mask walks at the Trocadero Palace near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, on July 10.
Paramedics gather outside the North Melbourne public housing complex, where nine towers had been placed under hard lockdown, in Australia on July 8.
A municipal funeral home worker watches the live news showing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announcing his positive result of the COVID-19 test, in Curitiba, Brazil, on July 7, 2020.
A doctor clad in protective gear measures the temperature of a woman during a house-to-house new coronavirus testing campaign in Avircato, Bolivia, on July 7.
A view of a newly built hospital to treat COVID-19 patients at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai, India, on July 7. India on July 6 became the country with the third-highest coronavirus caseload in the world.
Women eat lunch in a social-distancing greenhouse dining pod in the former parking lot of the Lady Byrd Cafe in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on July 7.
Visitors hold reproductions of the Mona Lisa outside the Louvre Museum as it reopens its doors following a 16-week closure due to lockdown measures, in Paris, France, on July 6.
Serbian army soldiers prepare a makeshift field hospital to accommodate patients infected by COVID-19 inside the Belgrade Arena in Serbia on July 6.
People get tested by Australian Defense Force (ADF) personnel for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing site at Flemington, which sits on the border of a hotspot suburb, in Melbourne, Australia, on July 4.
A clown, wearing a face shield, welcomes visitors at Tibidabo Amusement Park on the first day of its reopening in Barcelona, Spain, on July 4. The amusement park reopened for the first time since March 14 under strict sanitary security measures, including mandatory wearing of face masks, maintaining of social distancing between people or family units, following hand hygiene protocol and capacity restrictions with tickets booked in advance.
A Palestinian worker wearing a protective suit sprays disinfectant to sanitize a street in Hebron, West Bank, on June 28.
A social distancing sign warning of keeping two meters apart is seen in Porthcawl, Wales, on June 24.
Personnel of the National Health Service perform Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests on the population to detect COVID-19 cases in San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic, on June 13.
A worker sanitizes the railings surrounding the General Hospital’s triage area for COIVD-19 patients in Mexico City, Mexico, on June 12.
A health worker takes a nasal swab sample during public testing conducted at a market in Bali, Indonesia, on June 12.
A firefighter sprays disinfectant as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 in a containment zone in Chennai, India, on June 11.
Health workers from the city of Melgaço arrive at a small riverside community, where families live without electricity, to give medical care to its residents, in Brazil, on June 9.
A caretaker cleans the floor at the Durgiana Temple after the government eased a nationwide lockdown, in Amritsar, India, on June 7.
An officer enforces social distancing at the entrance of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 7.
A traveler queues for check-in on an Air Austral flight to Paris, France, from Dzaoudzi–Pamandzi International Airport on the French Indian Ocean island of Mayotte on June 5, as measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 are maintained on Mayotte over concerns about the continued spread of the virus there.
A member of the ‘Torcida Urubuzada’ (soccer fans) of Flamengo delivers food donations amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 5.
An organ grinder waits for a delivery of donated groceries in Mexico City, Mexico, on June 4.
Local authorities interview residents at the Santa Cruz neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia, on June 1, during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
People are seen inside a movie theater during its reopening, in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 1, after the Thai government eased isolation measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Muslims pray spaced apart to help curb the spread of the coronavirus during a Friday prayer at the Al Barkah Grand Mosque in Bekasi, Indonesia, on May 29. Muslims in some parts of Indonesia attended Friday prayers as mosques closed by the coronavirus for weeks were allowed to start reopening in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
People sit in circles painted as guidelines for social distancing at the Domino Park in New York City, New York, U.S., on May 24.
Staff at Suleymaniye Mosque perform a morning prayer in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 24.
Empty chairs are placed for worshipers on Notre Dame de la Garde basilica’s terrace before the first public mass after France eased lockdown measures, in Marseille, France, on May 24.
A worker wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) disinfects Jamaica market in Mexico City, Mexico, on May 23.
A worker disinfects an area of El Angel crematorium, in Lima, Peru, on May 21.
A railway official checks body temperature of a passenger before boarding a train at the Karachi Cantonment railway station in Pakistan on May 20, as train services resumed ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival after the government eased a nationwide lockdown.
A woman disinfects an employee before starting her shift at a leather goods factory in Bogota, Colombia, on May 19.
Healthcare workers acknowledge the applause as people thank them with a clapping tribute outside the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid, Spain, on May 17.
A university graduate student receives a paper copy of her diploma from a neighbor, as they adhere to social distancing norms, at a surprise graduation party, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on May 17.
Men wearing protective overalls and masks clean the statue of St. Peter during the sanitation of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on May 15.
People wear protective masks as they watch a movie at a drive-in theater in Amenia, New York, U.S., on May 15.
A nurse points to a firefighter holding a “thank you” sign as she leaves at the end of her shift at a hospital in South San Francisco, California, U.S., on May 14.
A health agency official, seen alongside his disinfectant dispenser, rests by the entrance to a public toilet as other colleagues conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for COVID-19, at a bus station in Bandung, Indonesia, on May 13.
On Monday, Ms Ferrier spoke in the
coronavirus debate in the Commons. That evening she says she tested positive.
Her statement continued: “I travelled home by train on Tuesday morning without seeking advice.
“This was also wrong and I am sorry. I have been self-isolating at home ever since.
“I have used Test and Protect and I have notified the House of Commons authorities who have spoken with Public Health England. I have also notified the police of my actions.
SNP MP Margaret Ferrier pictured during a visit to a leisure centre in her constituency
“Despite feeling well, I should have self-isolated while waiting for my test result, and I deeply regret my actions.
“I take full responsibility and I would urge everyone not to make the same mistakes that I have, and do all they can to help limit the spread of COVID-19.”
A Commons spokesman said Ms Ferrier told the SNP whip about her positive test on Wednesday afternoon.
“The Speaker was informed and the House authorities immediately took all necessary steps in line with their legal obligations and PHE guidance,” they said.
“On the basis of the information supplied to the contact-tracing system, only one individual has been identified as a close contact in relation to this case and is now self-isolating.”
Ms Ferrier posted a number of pictures on her Twitter account on Saturday of visits to places in her constituency – including a beauty salon and a leisure centre – but it is not clear if the visits occurred that same day.
Ms Ferrier called for Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s senior adviser, to resign after it was revealed he travelled more than 200 miles to County Durham from London at the height of lockdown.
At the time she told the Daily Record: “The public health advice is crystal clear. For the safety of others, anyone with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate, in line with government guidance. They should not leave the house for any reason.”
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Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said her “astonishing recklessness” had “put people’s health at risk”, while MSP and former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said “she has to go”.
SNP MP David Linden told BBC Question Time: “I’ve got to say I’m pretty furious with the behaviour of Margaret Ferrier MP. It’s utterly inexcusable and it’s right that she lost the whip for that.
“I don’t think her position is tenable and she should resign.”
Train drivers’ union Aslef said: “We’ve worked day in, day out to keep our railway as safe as possible for passengers and staff. For an MP to get on a train knowing she has COVID-19 is both dangerous and disgraceful.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We are aware of the circumstances and are liaising with our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police Service.”
The MP would face a £1,000 fine for a first-time offence of breaching self-isolation rules, under a law that came into force the same day she tested positive.
Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading – here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don’t go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn’t available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.