AS yet another article appears condemning Margaret Ferrier (“SNP Rutherglen association ask MP to resign her seat”, October 7) I’d like to say that, as an SNP member, I’m appalled at the disgraceful way that she has been treated by the party and by the apparent lack of support offered to her.

I agree that she made serious mistakes – her lapse of judgement in going to London when she had shown symptoms of Covid- 19 is obvious, and travelling back by train after testing positive made things much worse.

In the circumstances, removing the party whip was probably the most appropriate action.

However, there is no excuse for her subsequent demonisation and the apparent lack of support or understanding offered to her.

Everybody agrees that she is a hard working and conscientious MP who has given long and dedicated service to the SNP.

She has fought three elections in four years, successfully retaking the seat that she lost in 2017 (a loss more attributable to the SNP’s abysmal 2017 election campaign than to her personally).

No-one knows what went through her mind or why she made what seems to have been an uncharacteristically bad decision, but being ill, alone in London and far from home presumably played a part. Given this, and her contribution to the party, it is not unreasonable to expect that she would have been offered support in a very difficult situation.

Also, press reports indicate that the parliamentary authorities issued an email to MPs and others advising workers in the Palace of Westminster that, if they develop symptoms of Covid or receive a positive test result, they should make their way home immediately and “use private transport to travel whenever possible” but added they could use “public transport wearing a face covering there is no alternative”.

If this is true, what rules have been broken by Ms Ferrier and why has this not been given more publicity?

However, rather than showing empathy or support, we have had Ian Blackford, having quite reasonably suspended the whip on October 1, coming back to the press on October 5 and warning her to “do the honourable thing” or be faced with the prospect of being forced out. This seems to cross well over the line from party management to bullying and harassment.

And even before this, we had Mhairi Black’s hatchet job on her “friend” in the National of October 3. I have to say that criticising Ms Ferrier in public seems a very odd way of showing friendship and Mhairi Black ought to be ashamed of this hypocritical, self serving piece of virtue signalling.

It is also noticeable that we have not heard from Margaret Ferrier herself and no-one in the SNP hierarchy appears to have expressed any concern for her health or mental wellbeing. Even a statement that she should have a week’s grace allowing the recovery of her health and composure would not have gone amiss.

And, unlike Dominic Cummings, Ms Ferrier has referred herself to the police and to the Commons Standards Commissioner – perhaps their investigations ought to take precedence over trial by media?

You might expect that the SNP leadership ought to be trying to calm matters, not adding to the media feeding frenzy.

But what we actually get is a constant drip of allegations and daily press articles, showing no understanding or empathy. I completely agree with Kevin McKenna’s comment that “the sheer ruthlessness with which the leadership of a party she’s given her life to have whipped up the jackals has been stunning. And utterly, utterly sickening”.

Gordon Millar