MARGARET Ferrier has been suspended from the Commons for 30 days.

MPs voted by 185 to 40 to approve the punishment recommended by the Standards Committee after she travelled from London to Scotland on public transport while knowingly positive for Covid-19.

Fourteen members of the SNP group – including Westminster group leader Stephen Flynn and his deputy Mhairi Black – voted for Ferrier's suspension. In total, 128 Labour MPs backed it.

Just 28 Tory MPs voted to suspend Ferrier, while 32 of them opposed the punishment. Other MPs to vote against the suspension came from the DUP and Alba. 

A recall petition will be launched in the wake of Ferrier’s suspension, which officially begins on June 7.

A total of 10% of her constituents (roughly 8090 people) will need to sign a recall petition in order to trigger a by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

People will not be able to add their names to the petition online, but will have to attend signing stations set up across the area by the Petitions Officer in South Lanarkshire.

READ MORE: How do recall petitions work and will Rutherglen see a by-election?

Labour will be deploying activists in the area in a bid to get the required numbers in the six-week window.

Parties are allowed to spend up to £10,000 on the petition, and Labour have said they will be spending up to the limit.

The party has named Michael Shanks (below) – who has previously failed in bids to win a seat for the party at Holyrood in the Glasgow Kelvin area and at Westminster in Glasgow North West – as its candidate in the potential by-election.

The SNP has yet to name a candidate.

The National:

Ferrier’s suspension comes after she was ordered to complete 270 hours of unpaid work for having culpably and recklessly exposed the public “to the risk of infection, illness and death”.

Ferrier, formerly 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.

Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Daniel Greenberg said Ferrier had breached the code of conduct for MPs “by placing her own personal interest of not wishing to self-isolate immediately or in London over the public interest of avoiding possible risk of harm to health and life”.

She also breached the code because “her actions commencing from when she first took a Covid-19 test to when she finally begins self-isolation have caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons as a whole, and of its members generally”.

The Commons Standards Committee found she “acted dishonestly” by misleading the SNP’s chief whip, and added: “Ms Ferrier’s actions knowingly and recklessly exposed members of the public and those on the parliamentary estate to the risk of contracting Covid-19 and demonstrated a disregard for the parliamentary and national guidance in place.”

After the suspension was approved, SNP by-election campaign coordinator David Linden MP said: "There must now be a by-election, which the SNP has been calling for since Ms Ferrier's covid rule-breach first came to light in 2020.

"People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West are paying an unacceptable price for the damaging policies of the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party, as the cost of living soars.

"The SNP is the only party offering a real alternative. We will put the cost of living, NHS and independence at the heart of our campaign – and we'll work hard for every vote to ensure the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West can elect a strong SNP MP to stand up for them.”