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by Louise Wilson
25 May 2023
Margaret Ferrier suspension vote postponed

Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP Margaret Ferrier has sat as an independent since 2020

Margaret Ferrier suspension vote postponed

The vote on whether to ban Margaret Ferrier from the Commons for 30 days has been postponed.

MPs were due to vote on her temporary suspension on Thursday afternoon, following the Committee on Standards recommendation.

The motion was pulled at the last minute. It is now expected to be brought back when MPs return from recess in June.

No reason has been given for the decision though reports suggest a number of MPs were preparing to vote against the recommendation of the Committee on Standards.

Ferrier was facing suspension for breaching Covid rules in September 2020.

The MP, who lost the SNP whip, spoke in parliament while awaiting the result of a Covid test and then, after the test came back positive, travelled back to Scotland on the train.

She pleaded guilty of the breach in court and was handed 270 hours of community service.

And a committee of MPs then proposed a 30-day ban. Her appeal of that decision was denied earlier this week.

The suspension would open up the prospect of a recall petition, and is likely to lead to a by-election for Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Labour's Ian Murray described the decision to pull the vote as "deeply disappointing".

He said: “A grubby backroom deal between Ferrier, nationalists and some Tories, who don’t want Boris Johnson to suffer the same fate, has prevented the democratic process from taking place. The Tory government can’t even get their own business through."

Ferrier has been facing multiple calls to resign her seat, including from First Minister Humza Yousaf, but has so far refused to do so.

Conservative members of the Committee on Standards attempted to reduce her suspension to nine days, which would have meant Ferrier could not be subject to a recall petition.

The committee is also charged with the inquiry into whether Boris Johnson misled parliament. He could also face a recall petition if handed a suspension of 10 days or more.

SNP MP Allan Dorans also backed the move to reduce Ferrier’s suspension, though SNP MPs have now been instructed to vote for the suspension when it comes to the whole chamber.

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