Unbelievable! SNP take moral high ground despite huge delay taking action against Ferrier

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The Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP admitted she was tested for coronavirus on Saturday after showing symptoms but still travelled by train to Westminster on Monday when she should have been following strict Government guidelines by self-isolating. Ms Ferrier then gave a four-minute speech in the House of Commons on Monday evening during a debate on coronavirus crisis. The SNP politician said she received her positive test result that same evening – although it is not known if this was before or after speaking in Parliament – before taking the train back to Glasgow.

Ms Sturgeon has insisted the SNP had acted quickly and “appropriately” when party members learned the details, and said she only found out about Ms Ferrier’s actions after First Minister’s Questions on Thursday afternoon.

The First Minister believed the SNP at Westminster was told about Ms Ferrier positive coronavirus test result on Wednesday but was not aware she already had symptoms and had taken a test before attending Parliament.

She said Ms Ferrier referred herself to police and infirmed those close to her about her positive test result before releasing a statement on Thursday afternoon.

That same day, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford flew to Inverness in Scotland and spoke to Ms Ferrier, later announcing the party whip had been withdrawn.

But an SNP insider has tried to throw their support behind Ms Sturgeon, insisting she had punished those in her party who break the rules – unlike Boris Johnson, who failed to take any action against chief adviser Dominic Cummings in the summer, who was found to have travelled hundreds of miles to Durham with suspected coronavirus symptoms.

BBC Newsnight Policy Editor tweeted a comment from an SNP source who said: “The comparison between the First Minister’s behaviour and that of Boris Johnson is obvious. She punishes those in our party who break the rules. He protects those in his.”

Ms Sturgeon is coming under huge pressure from Opposition politicians who have demanded answers to be told what the SNP knew about Ms Ferrier’s symptoms and infection and the party’s response.

On Friday, the First Minister said Ms Ferrier’s actions were “dangerous & indefensible”, and in a meeting, urged her to resign from her post as an MP.

The SNP leader said on Friday: “It was not until yesterday my colleagues in the House of Commons realised the circumstances – that she’d actually taken the test before travelling to London and then travelling back having been told that she was positive.

“I think the SNP has acted quickly, appropriately and, actually, we have not tried to protect a colleague here.

“We’ve tried to do the right thing, given the circumstances we’re dealing with.”

Prior to the comments from Ms Sturgeon, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The SNP say they only found out about any wrongdoing on Thursday. That means we’re supposed to accept that the SNP found out Margaret Ferrier tested positive on Wednesday – and asked nothing.

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“The public is expected to believe SNP bosses didn’t think to ask a single question, not one, about when she tested positive, where she had been or who she had been around, despite her appearance in the Commons earlier that week.”

Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray has written to Mr Blackford demanding answers about Ms Ferrier’s “catastrophic, negligent actions” while she had coronavirus symptoms and after testing positive.

The letter from the Scottish Labour politician lists 23 questions around the timeline of Ms Ferrier’s coronavirus test and subsequent positive result,

He has also demanded to know details of when senior SNP members, the chief whip and party staff knew of their colleague’s infection, as well as any parliamentary staff she may have come into contact with.

Mr Murray said: “These revelations have caused a great deal of confusion and concern within Parliament.

“We are faced with catastrophic, negligent actions by an MP which have put lives at risk.

“You and your party’s slow response leaves much to be desired, and the party must come forward with a full and clear explanation.”

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