Covid MP Margaret Ferrier takes part in Commons vote via proxy

Covid MP Margaret Ferrier takes part in Commons vote via proxy

An MP who took a train from London to Glasgow after testing positive for coronavirus has voted in the House of Commons despite facing calls to quit.

Margaret Ferrier was not present in the Commons for a vote on amendments to the Agriculture Bill on Monday.

But she voted by proxy – meaning another MP was able to submit her vote for her.

Her proxy was Jonathan Edwards, who was suspended from Plaid Cymru after being cautioned by the police for an assault.

Mr Edwards is also currently sitting as an independent MP in the Commons.

Ms Ferrier was suspended by the SNP after admitting she had travelled from Glasgow to London on 28 September, despite still awaiting the results of a coronavirus test from two days earlier.

The Rutherglen and Hamilton MP was told she had tested positive for the virus shortly after taking part in a Commons debate on Covid-19 later that day, but decided to take the train back to Glasgow on the Tuesday.

Ms Ferrier apologised for her conduct, but has faced calls to resign as an MP from all of Scotland’s main party leaders – including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader.

Ms Sturgeon has described Ms Ferrier as a “friend”, but has said that it was “unacceptable that someone in her position flagrantly disregarded the rules like that.”

There was no reply when BBC Scotland attempted to contact Ms Ferrier at her Cambuslang home on Tuesday.

The MP told the Sun on Sunday newspaper at the weekend that she had “panicked” at the thought of having to possibly spend two weeks self-isolating in a London hotel after testing positive.

Ms Ferrier added: “I felt there was no alternative and that’s why I took the train. That’s the decision I took at the time.

“A lot of people say Covid makes you do things out of character. You’re not thinking straight”.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said it was a “disgrace” that Ms Ferrier was still voting on legislation after “openly flouting the rules on Covid that we all have to live by”.

He added: “Margaret Ferrier has given a two finger sign to her constituents and the wider population with this latest act of hypocrisy.

“She is not fit to vote on legislation that impacts on us all. She must resign as an MP now.”

A former senior advisor to Ms Ferrier later told BBC Scotland’s The Nine he feels like he is watching her destroy her life and echoed calls for her resignation.

Derec Thomson said: “I don’t know if she is going to be able to come back from this – even walk about in the local area after this. It’s quite sad to watch somebody do that to themselves.”

Mr Edwards, who voted on behalf of Ms Ferrier on Monday, was suspended from Plaid Cymru for 12 months in July after he accepted a police caution for assault.

The Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP described the incident in May – which saw police officers called to his home – as “by far the biggest regret” of his life.

His wife Emma said she had accepted his apology.

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