Scottish MP avoids jail sentence for ‘willful disregard’ of COVID-19 rules

An MP, who traveled by train from London to Scotland after testing positive for COVID-19, was ordered to serve 270 hours of community service after escaping a prison sentence.

On Tuesday, a Glasgow Sheriff’s Court judge told Margaret Ferrier, 62, that she “willfully flouted” the rules but felt it was inappropriate to send her to jail.

Last month, Ferrier recklessly and recklessly exposed the public “to the risk of infection, illness and death” by traveling in September 2020, at the height of the pandemic, after testing positive for the virus. I admit I did.

Ferrier was elected to the SNP MP in December 2019 but had his whip withdrawn and was asked by Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon to “do the right thing” and resign.

MP “Deliberately ignore the guidance and move by train”

Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull, imposing a community repayment order on her, told her: You deliberately ignored the rules and did not quarantine. Even though the test was positive, you deliberately ignored the instructions and traveled by train. ”

“It cannot be overlooked that your actions were taken during a time of serious restrictions and before the vaccination program began,” Turnbull added.

He told her that a community repayment order was the only alternative to detention and that she would go to jail if she didn’t complete 270 hours of unpaid work within nine months.

Ferrier was first elected as MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West in 2015, but lost the seat to Labor’s Ged Killen in 2017 and won it again two years later. She has a majority of her 5,230 and currently sits independent.

Sturgeon calls Ferrier’s actions “dangerous and indefensible”.

Her advocate Brian McConachie, KC, told the court: And due to her conspicuous lack of consideration for others, she then went about her usual business. ”

McConachie said she went into “uncontrollable panic” when she tested positive and tried to get home as soon as possible so she could self-isolate.

Ferrier traveled from Scotland to London, addressed the House of Commons after being tested, and then returned by train to Glasgow after being told he had tested positive.

McConachie said he has shown remorse for his actions.

The Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, described her actions as “reckless” and the Scotsman called her a hypocrite. Barnard Castle in County Durham.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.