Disgraced MP says infected trip was just a 'blip' as she refuses to resign

A Scottish MP who made an 800-mile round trip to Parliament while infected with coronavirus has suggested the disease made her ‘act out of character’.

Margaret Ferrier tried to dismiss her actions as a ‘blip’ despite having repeatedly failed to self-isolate for days after first experiencing symptoms.

As well as taking a train from Glasgow to London, attending the House of Commons and journeying back after her test came back positive, she also paid visits to several businesses in her constituency area on the day she decided to get tested – and is believed to have attended a church mass the next day.

Ms Ferrier nonetheless insisted she followed the rules in an interview with The Sun on Sunday, her first public comments since tweeting an apology on October 1 in which she admitted she ‘should have self-isolated’ while waiting for her test results.

The 60-year-old MP, who is under police investigation and has been suspended from the SNP, is still resisting calls to resign from former party colleagues and opponents alike.

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She told the newspaper: ‘A lot of people say Covid makes you do things out of character. You’re not thinking straight.’

‘You feel you’re getting a lot of criticism from people you thought were your colleagues or friends who would understand it was one blip.’

She said she took a test on Saturday, September 26 after experiencing a ‘tickly throat’, but had no symptoms on the Sunday or Monday, when she travelled to London.

After receiving her test result on the Monday night she said she started ‘panicking’ and went ahead with her return trip the next day rather than ‘self-isolate in a hotel room’ – feeling there was ‘no alternative’.

Ms Ferrier added: ‘It may be a serious error of judgment. 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 – is all that hard work and dedication just wiped away?’

The MP suggested her apology set her above Prime Minister’s aide Dominic Cummings, who travelled 260 miles to be near relatives during lockdown – as, unlike him, she had ‘owned up to maybe letting people down’.

Yet she failed to address reports indicating she repeatedly breached the requirement to self-isolate for 10 days after experiencing symptoms.

The Vanilla Salon beauty parlour and Sweet P Gift Boutique, in Ms Ferrier’s constituency town of Rutherglen, near Glasgow, have both confirmed she visited them on the Saturday, condemning her actions as ‘irresponsible’.

Pictures posted by the MP on Twitter suggest she also visited the South Lanarkshire Eastfield Lifestyle leisure centre on the same day.

She then attended a mass at St Mungo’s Church in Glasgow on the Sunday, where she gave a gospel reading from the altar, according to the Daily Record newspaper.

Ms Ferrier reportedly sat near the front of the Catholic church and gave a five-minute reading to a congregation of which roughly three-quarters were elderly people.

The Archdiocese of Glasgow said it would be ‘disappointing’ if someone had not self-isolated according to government rules and ‘for the good of the whole community’.

Talking about Mr Cummings back in May, Ms Ferrier said: ‘The public health advice is crystal clear.

‘For the safety of others, anyone with coronavirus symptoms must self-isolate, in line with government guidance. They should not leave the house for any reason.’

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon repeated calls for Ms Ferrier to resign today, telling Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday the MP’s ‘lapse of judgement’ was ‘so significant and so unacceptable’ after ‘flagrantly’ disobeying the rules.

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