Friday, 30 Oct 2020

‘SNP freeloaders funded by taxpayers!’ Fury as Margaret Ferrier refuses to quit £80K job

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Nicola Sturgeon’s Nationalist Party have been accused of being “freeloaders funded by taxpayers” after the SNP MP said she had no intention of standing down. Ms Ferrier said her decision to travel from Glasgow to Westminster while awaiting a COVID-19 test result and making the return trip when she knew she had the virus was a “blip”.

The SNP was hit with a barrage of criticism after Ms Ferrier insisted she would stay in her post to “fight” for her constituents in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Referencing disgraced Derek MacKay who failed to stand down as an SNP MP after it emerged he sent 270 social media messages to a 16-year-old boy, Alliance For Unity candidate David Griffiths posted on Twitter: “Where Derek Mackay leads, Margaret Ferrier follows. That’s @theSNP. Freeloaders funded by taxpayers.”

The 60-year-old MP said coronavirus made you “act out of character”.

But outspoken Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan hit back saying she was a “shameful disgrace”.

He tweeted: “I wasn’t aware it turned you into a selfish, reckless, arrogant, deluded, dangerous, life-threatening, shameful disgrace?”

Scottish Labour and Co-operative politician Ged Killen posted: ”Staggering arrogance. Being an MP is a privilege, not a right.

“Margaret Ferrier has lost the confidence of her constituents. Her refusal to allow the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West to choose a new MP in the name of self-preservation is an affront to democracy.”

Ms Ferrier told the Scottish Sun on Sunday she had ”panicked” and was left “wanting home” after she received her positive COVID-19 test result on Monday night.

She said: ”A lot of people say COVID makes you do things out of character. You’re not thinking straight.

“I don’t have a flat in London. You’re thinking, ‘Am I going to get worse in a week’s time or a few days’ time’.

”I felt there was no alternative and that’s why I took the train. That’s the decision I took at the time.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford have been among those calling on Ms Ferrier to stand down over the incident, while Scottish Labour has launched an online petition calling for her to resign.

She has so far had the SNP whip withdrawn over the saga and the Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident.

Speaking for the first time after her breach, she said: “This has been an awful experience but I’ll keep fighting for my constituents because that’s who I am.”

She said she has received support locally in the wake of the incident and has “owned up and apologised profusely”.

Ms Ferrier said her reasoning for travelling to Westminster after taking a COVID-19 test was “wanting to represent her constituents” and take part in a parliamentary debate – something which could not be done virtually.

She also spoke out about the level of criticism she has received over the incident, adding: “You feel you are getting a lot of criticism from people you thought were your colleagues or friends who’d understand it was an error of judgement. I’m not denying that.

“People may be saying, ‘You should have known better, you’re a public figure’. But at the end of the day it still hurts.

“You then think about all that hard work and dedication – is that just wiped away?”

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