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by Louise Wilson
30 March 2023
Humza Yousaf urges Margaret Ferrier to resign

Margaret Ferrier was elected as an SNP MP but has been an Independent since 2020 | Alamy Stock Photo

Humza Yousaf urges Margaret Ferrier to resign

Humza Yousaf has said there should be a Westminster by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West, and called on sitting MP Margaret Ferrier to quit.

His comments follow a standards committee report which recommended Ferrier be suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days after breaching Covid rules.

The MP may face a by-election even if she does not stand down, as any suspension over 10 days means an MP can be subject to a recall petition.

Speaking after his first First Minister’s Questions, Yousaf said Ferrier should have resigned after her “reckless actions” in 2020.

And asked whether he was confident his party could retake the seat, he said there was “strong support” for the SNP in the area.

Ferrier was initially elected as an SNP MP in 2015, but lost the seat to Labour in the 2017 general election.

She was returned to parliament again in December 2019, but lost the SNP whip in 2020 after travelling on the train from London back to Scotland after testing positive for Covid-19.

She later pleaded guilty to breaching Covid rules and was sentenced to 270 hours of community service.

SNP MP Allan Dorans – who sits on the standards committee – voted with the Conservative members to give Ferrier a lesser sanction of nine days (under the 10 days required for a recall petition) and then again against the final report.

Yousaf said: “I think we should have backed the suspension that’s been agreed by the committee, but I think actually the important thing is for Margaret Ferrier to do the right thing – finally to the right thing – and resign.”

He added he had not yet spoken to Dorans and anyone in the Westminster group about the suspension recommendation.

Former first minister Nicola Sturgeon previously said she had asked Ferrier to step down as an MP, describing her actions as the “worst breach imaginable”.

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