MP Margaret Ferrier pleads guilty to breaching Covid rules

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The MP Margaret Ferrier has pleaded guilty to breaching Covid rules by travelling on a train between Scotland and London after being told to self-isolate in September 2020.

At a hearing at Glasgow sheriff court on Thursday, Ferrier, 61, admitted she had culpably and recklessly exposed the public to the virus.

The former Scottish National party politician, who now sits as an independent MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, was suspended from her party after the rule-breaking came to light in October 2020.

She immediately referred herself to the police and to the parliamentary commissioner for standards.

The charge stated she wilfully exposed people to “the risk of infection, illness and death”, travelling throughout Glasgow and the surrounding areas as well as making journeys to and from London, where she sat in the Commons.

Sentencing has been deferred until next month to gather background reports.

Ferrier spoke in the Commons on Monday 28 September while awaiting the results of a Covid test. After receiving a positive result she decided to get a train back to Glasgow the next day because she was worried about having to self-isolate in a hotel room in London for two weeks.

It later emerged that Ferrier had visited venues in her constituency, including a beauty salon and a gift shop, while waiting for her test results.

The prosecutor Mark Allan told the court: “The conduct amounted to a reckless disregard of public safety.”

At the time, Ferrier apologised unreservedly for her conduct but has refused to stand down as an MP, despite repeated calls for her to do so and to the frustration of many of her constituents.

The first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, at the time described her actions as “dangerous and indefensible”.