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Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry says decision to remove whip from fellow SNP MP Margaret Ferrier 'absolutely right' after she travelled on a train while knowingly infected with Covid-19; Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford suspended her party whip earlier this evening


By Philip Murray

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MP Drew Hendry said the decision to remove his colleague's party whip was 'absolutely right'.
MP Drew Hendry said the decision to remove his colleague's party whip was 'absolutely right'.

REMOVING the whip from an MP who travelled on public transport while knowingly infected with Covid-19 was "absolutely right", Inverness MP Drew Hendry has said.

The Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP was there were "no excuses" for the actions of fellow SNP MP Margaret Ferrier. She was stripped of the party whip this evening after travelling from her constituency to Westminster while awaiting a Covid-19 test result - and then heading home on a train after it came back positive.

In a statement, she posted on Twitter, the Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP said: "I apologise unreservedly for breaching Covid-19 restrictions by travelling this week when I shouldn't have. There is no excuse for my actions.

"On Saturday afternoon, after experiencing mild symptoms, I requested a Covid-19 test which I took that day. Feeling much better, I then travelled to London by train on Monday to attend Parliament as planned. This was wrong, and I am very sorry for my mistake.

"On Monday evening I received a positive test result for Covid-19. I travelled home by train on Tuesday morning without seeking advice. This was also wrong and I am sorry. I have been self-isolating at home ever since.

"I have used Test and Protect and I have notified the House of Commons authorities who have spoken with Public Health England. I have also notified the police of my actions.

"Despite feeling well, I should have self-isolated while waiting for my test result, and I deeply regret my actions. I take full responsibility and I would urge everyone not to make the same mistakes that I have, and do all they can to help limit the spread of Covid-19."

Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford, who is the leader of the SNP in Westminster, suspended her party whip in response to the incident.

He said: "I have spoken with Margaret Ferrier this evening who fully accepts that what she did was wrong.

Margaret Ferrier MP. Picture: Nuclear Information Service from Reading, United Kingdom / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0).
Margaret Ferrier MP. Picture: Nuclear Information Service from Reading, United Kingdom / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0).

"Margaret will be referring herself to the parliamentary standards commissioner as well as the police.

"I am tonight suspending the whip from Margaret."

Responding to the news of Mr Blackford's decision, Mr Hendry added: "Absolutely the right thing to do. No excuses."

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon also condemned Ms Ferrier's actions.

The First Minister said: "This is utterly indefensible. It’s hard to express just how angry I feel on behalf of people across the country making hard sacrifices every day to help beat Covid. The rules apply to everyone and they’re in place to keep people safe. Ian Blackford is right to suspend the whip."

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