MP ‘failed to tell officials she went to Parliament with Covid symptoms’

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An MP who is accused of putting people at risk by travelling between Glasgow and London by train with coronavirus symptoms did not tell NHS Test and Protect officials she went into Parliament, a court has heard.

Margaret Ferrier is accused of wilfully exposing people “to the risk of infection, illness and death” by visiting various places in the Glasgow area and London having been told to self-isolate in late September 2020.

Ferrier, who was elected as an SNP MP but now sits as an independent MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, did not attend the hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday, but Sheriff Andrew Cubie confirmed the trial would go ahead on August 15.

During the 11-minute hearing on Tuesday, the court was told by fiscal depute Mark Allan the charge would be amended to add that she failed “to disclose to representatives of Test and Protect national contact tracing centre NHS Scotland that you entered the Houses of Parliament in London on September 28 2020”.

Train travellers
Ferrier is accused of travelling from Glasgow to London Euston and back (Peter Byrne/PA)

Prosecutors allege that having booked a test for Covid-19, the 61-year-old “culpably and recklessly” put people at risk by visiting places including Lifestyle Leisure Centre, Vanilla Salon, gift shop Sweet P Boutique in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, St Mungo’s Church in Glasgow, and Vic’s Bar in Prestwick, South Ayrshire.

Ferrier, of Cambuslang, is said to have taken a taxi from Cambuslang to Glasgow Central Station, and then from there she is accused of travelling on the train to London Euston and back. She is accused of visiting the Houses of Parliament in the capital, along with other places unknown to prosecutors.

It is alleged that having booked a test for Covid-19, stating in the booking application she was suffering symptoms of the disease, and having been told to self-isolate, she put people at risk between September 26 and 29 2020 by travelling throughout Glasgow and the surrounding areas, and travelling between Glasgow and London.

The monkeypox outbreak had delayed a defence report from an expert virologist in her trial, but her lawyer Neal McShane said that had now been received at five minutes to midnight on Monday.

Mr Allan told the court the trial would last around 10 days, which he described as “more realistic” than the five previously set aside.

Ferrier had the SNP whip removed in 2020 after the allegations emerged.

She has come under pressure to resign from her seat, but remains an MP.

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