THE way Margaret Ferrier has been treated by some of her old SNP colleagues is “shameful”, Joanna Cherry has said.

The SNP MP took to Twitter to defend Ferrier after news she could face a potential by-election in her Westminster seat of Rutherglen and Hamilton West if MPs approve a recommended 30-day suspension for breaking Covid rules.

Any suspension of longer than 10 days triggers a recall petition, which will in turn lead to a by-election in the Labour-targeted seat if more than 10% of constituents sign.

Ferrier has sat as an independent in the Commons since having the SNP whip removed for travelling from England to Scotland while knowingly having Covid.

Writing on Twitter on Friday morning, Cherry said: “The way Margaret Ferrier has been treated by some of her former comrades is shameful. She is a thoroughly decent woman who made a bad mistake for which she has already paid dearly. Prior to that she was one of the most loyal hard working activists in @theSNP.”

Cherry’s statement has been met by both agreement and dissent.

“She was indeed, from the furthest points North to those in the South. Margaret was always there. It's an absolute disgrace the way she has been treated for what was, as far as I'm concerned, a panic reaction,” one user wrote.

But another replied: “Sorry, she should have resigned as a matter of principle. She did make a mistake and should have taken responsibility for it. So many people suffered then, and it’s not fair on them to just let her off the hook now.”

The National: Margaret Ferrier

First Minister Humza Yousaf said he believes there should be a by-election in Ferrier’s (above) Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency.

Yousaf told journalists after FMQs on Thursday: “We’ve said from day one that Margaret Ferrier should have stepped down because of her reckless action.

“I look forward to fighting that by-election on our strong track record.”

He went on: “We’ll take nothing for granted, we won’t be complacent.

“We’ve got strong support in Rutherglen and right across that region.

“But it will take hard work. I think the right thing for Margaret Ferrier to do would be to stand down.”

The National:

Ferrier, then an SNP MP, developed Covid symptoms on September 26, 2020 – a Saturday – and took a test, but still went to church and had lunch with a family member the following day.

On the Monday, while awaiting the result of the test, she travelled by train to London, took part in a Commons debate and ate in the Members’ Tearoom in Parliament.

That evening she received a text telling her the test was positive but, instead of isolating, she travelled back to Scotland by train the following morning.

In September last year, Ferrier was sentenced in court to 270 hours of community service for the Covid rules breach, and was told that was a direct alternative to custody and she must complete the unpaid work within nine months.

She won the constituency for the SNP in 2019, taking the seat from Labour.