Margaret Ferrier: Scotland Yard probe into SNP MP's 'breaches' of coronavirus rules dropped on technicality

Daniel O'Mahony
·3-min read
SNP MP Margaret Ferrier in the House of Commons on Monday during a debate on the coronavirus response: PA
SNP MP Margaret Ferrier in the House of Commons on Monday during a debate on the coronavirus response: PA

The Metropolitan Police’s probe into MP Margaret Ferrier’s possible breaches of coronavirus regulations has been dropped on a technicality, it emerged on Thursday.

Last month Ms Ferrier caused public outrage and was suspended from the SNP after she admitted returning by train from London to Scotland on September 29 despite receiving a positive coronavirus test.

The MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, who has refused to resign , had travelled to Westminster on September 26 to speak in a debate on coronavirus regulations while awaiting the outcome of the test after previously suffering symptoms.

After the scandal broke she referred herself to Police Scotland over possible breaches coronavirus regulations, and officers from Met and British Transport Police also began an investigation.

But on Thursday a Scotland Yard spokesman said no further action would be taken by the force — because Ms Ferrier had taken her test before the new legislation was passed into law on September 28.

The laws came into effect the following day, the same date Ms Ferrier travelled back to Scotland.

Following the Met Police's announcement, Police Scotland tweeted that they would now consult with Scottish prosecutors as to their next steps.

Ms Ferrier was suspended from the SNP (PA)
Ms Ferrier was suspended from the SNP (PA)

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “Detectives tested the MP’s account including obtaining and reviewing CCTV and undertaking inquiries to establish the dates of the tests, results, and travel arrangements.

“Officers considered possible offences including those under Reg. 11(2) of the Health Protection Regulations 2020 which relates to self-isolation requirement."

“However, on detailed examination of this new legislation, and following legal advice, it was concluded that this regulation is applicable only after the 28th September 2020. In this case the test occurred prior to the 29th September 2020 and therefore the regulation does not apply.

“As such, there will be no further action in relation to this investigation from the Metropolitan Police. We are in liaison with Police Scotland and have referred the matter to them for consideration.

“We continue to urge everyone to abide by all legislation and any relevant guidelines to help protect themselves and others."

Since news of her trips broke, the MP has faced increasing calls for her resignation, including from SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has repeatedly called for her to stand down.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard have also been among those pushing for Ms Ferrier – who beat Labour’s Ged Killen for the seat last year – to go.

In an interview with The Scottish Sun, Ms Ferrier said she felt she was “hung out to dry” by the SNP, which withdrew the whip from her one hour after she released a statement detailing her actions.

She also said she had no intention of standing down.

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