Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to confirm that her party will not readmit Margaret Ferrier, after the disgraced MP claimed she was promised her suspension from the SNP was only a temporary measure.
Ms Ferrier, who is resisting calls to resign her seat after she made an 800-mile round trip between Glasgow and London with coronavirus, complained that she had been “hung out to dry” by the SNP after agreeing to post a scripted apology on social media.
She claimed party staffers had assured her that they would be able to “contain” the fallout from her rule breach and that more serious action was only taken because of public outrage at her actions.
The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP told the Scottish Sun: “They [told me] were going to have to take the whip off me, but I would get back in because I was cooperating and had been honest.”
It's clear that the SNP was more than happy to help Margaret Ferrier spin her way out of the mess she created until they realised that the public wouldn't buy it.
Not good enough. https://t.co/gnfqvcKymK
— Richard Leonard (@LabourRichard) October 12, 2020
Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, said: “The First Minister called Margaret Ferrier’s actions ‘indefensible.’ But now we hear that the SNP were gearing up to defend her.
“It’s clear that the SNP only criticised Margaret Ferrier’s shameful actions when they realised the public were absolutely livid.
“Margaret Ferrier has undermined confidence in the vital public health message we all need to send.
“We need to know for sure that the SNP are not about to undermine that message further by letting Margaret Ferrier back into the party. Margaret Ferrier has to resign – but the SNP have to expel her too.”
Speaking at her press briefing yesterday, Ms Sturgeon repeated her call on Ms Ferrier to stand down from her £82,000 per year job.
Asked about Ms Ferrier’s comments, she said it was usual for someone in her position to be given assistance in putting together a statement.
She added: "I don't think the SNP could have been clearer about all of this. What she did was not defensible because it potentially put people at risk and was a clear and flagrant breach of the rules.
"So she had the whip removed and she was suspended from the SNP, there is a process now - political parties have to comply with due process - that process will be gone through.”