FORMER SNP MP Margaret Ferrier is facing a 30-day suspension from the House of Commons after breaching Covid rules during the pandemic.

The Rutherglen and Hamilton West representative has already lost the SNP whip and was handed 270 hours of community service last year after she was deemed to have "exposed people to risk of infection, illness and death" by travelling on a train between Scotland and London in the knowledge she had tested positive.

She now faces the prospect of being thrown out of her job by her constituents via a recall petition, which will be triggered if MPs agree to the recommended ban from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

If 10% of the electorate sign the petition to say she should go, a by-election will follow which Ferrier – who won the seat in 2019 from Labour - could stand in if she wished.

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But would people in the area sign the petition or do they feel Ferrier has suffered enough?

We went out into the constituency to gather people’s views.

How people felt in Cambuslang

There was a mixture of opinions in the town of Cambuslang, which directly borders Rutherglen and is home to about 30,000 people.

Harriet O’Neil, 75, felt Ferrier should be given a second chance after already being sentenced to a community payback order - which was a direct alternative to custody.

O’Neil told The National: “I think she has suffered enough. She’s been punished and she seems to be a good enough person, according to what I’ve heard. She’s been decent with people and people say she’s a good representative.

“I think she should be given another chance. She’s not done that much damage by going on the train compared to the partygoers in London. Sometimes it’s an emergency and you have to travel.”

The National:

Mother-of-two Julie McIntire, 45, on the other hand said she would sign a recall petition, arguing Ferrier should have stepped down from her role by now which she has been reluctant to do.

McIntire said: “I would sign it. I think she should go. 

“Everyday people had to do it [follow Covid rules]. Yes, she’s made a mistake and everyone makes mistakes, but at that level and when she’s in the public eye, she really should’ve done the right thing and stepped down and apologised.

“I know she’s enjoyed doing her job but I think she should do the respectable thing and resign. I would’ve probably had more respect for her that way.”

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Mother-of-three Leanne, 44, added: “I just feel like when you are in that position you have got to follow the rules.

“It just seems like one rule for them and another for everyone else.”

Other residents felt aggrieved Ferrier broke lockdown rules while people were dying in hospital and could not seeing their family and friends in their last moments.

Mr Thomson, 39, who did not want to give his first name, said: “I put my life on the line going to work every day during Covid. I think it’s ridiculous she is still an MP.

“People were dying of cancer and couldn’t have visitors.”

The National: Denis Boland has a sister who is still in hospital with Covid and felt Margaret Ferrier should be voted outDenis Boland has a sister who is still in hospital with Covid and felt Margaret Ferrier should be voted out (Image: NQ)

Widower Denis Boland, 66, said he would sign the recall petition and insisted it “didn’t matter” she had already been handed a criminal sentence.

He added: “I agree with that [the suggested ban from Commons].

“Everyone had to abide by laws. I would definitely sign it, she broke the law. It doesn’t matter to me that she was given community service, she’s still got to go.

“I have got three sisters who all had it [Covid], one of them is still in hospital with it now. I would ask her to resign, but I would definitely sign a petition.”

Would residents in Rutherglen sign?

In the Royal Burgh of Rutherglen, people felt quite strongly about Ferrier at both ends of the scale.

Nina Cullen, 51, who lives on the edge of the town, said she felt sorry for the 62-year-old, especially given Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak were handed fines for being involved in gatherings at Number 10 during the pandemic.

“She should be given another chance, I feel a bit sorry for her,” she said.

The National: Nina Cullen said Margaret Ferrier should keep her jobNina Cullen said Margaret Ferrier should keep her job (Image: NQ)

“What they did at Number 10 was much worse. They had a party and didn’t get community service. I don’t think that’s fair.

“She’s done her time and I think she should keep her job.”

But several people felt there was no question she should be removed as an MP, with some insisting Ferrier caused “outrage” in the community.

A 71-year-old man from Rutherglen, who did not want to be named, said: “She broke the rules, it’s as simple as that.

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“If you or I broke the rules, we would have been given community service or something like that. I think she should probably go, but what I vote for is between me and the ballot box.”

Dad-of-three Robert MacVicar, 42, said: “I would sign it. She caused outrage in this community.

“People were getting scrutinised for it [following rules] but she seems to have just got away with it. They [politicians] think they are above the law.

The National: Robert MacVicar from Rutherglen said he feels Margaret Ferrier a 'got away with it'Robert MacVicar from Rutherglen said he feels Margaret Ferrier a 'got away with it' (Image: NQ)

“Several members of staff at the [Glasgow] council where I work died of it. I do not think she should be an MP. She should be robbed of her duty.”

Mum-of-two Lorraine Moffat, 55, added: “I would sign it because my dad died in hospital with no visitors and she’s running about on trains.

“I would like to have somebody else as our MP.”

What did Burnside residents think?

In and around the residential area of Burnside – which has a population of around 15,000 – there was again some wildly contrasting views on what Ferrier’s fate should be.

Lorraine, 60, who lived in the Cotswolds at the time of the rule-breaking but now lives in Burnside, described Ferrier as an “exceptional” MP and said she would want to keep her as an MP.

She told The National: “I would rather she stayed  [an MP]. She’s done an enormous about of work trying to get gambling under control with lots of shops being set up in the local area with gambling  facilities.

“I’ve followed her for a number of years, including when I was in England, and I thinks she’s an exceptional MP.

“It was an unfortunate set of circumstances given that Covid was something we all were experiencing for the first time and I do not like to look at things through binary opposites and right and wrong. I think it’s all been blown out of proportion and she was not the only person to have done something like that.”

There were many residents who felt it was time for her to go though, with some saying she had lost the trust of her constituents.

Teacher Michelle Kelly, 53, from Fernhill, added: “She’s probably feeling humiliated and she’s probably realised it was stupid, so I think she should step down rather than dragging it out.

“I probably would sign the petition.”

Christine Blain, 60, said: “I would sign it. She knew exactly what she was doing, especially coming back up [on the train when she knew she had Covid], when the rest of us were stuck in houses and not being about to visit relatives.

“I think the trust is gone now.”

Len Blain, 61, said: “For me it’s the fact a politician should know better.

“She should not be in that position [an MP] and for her to refuse to resign is another slap in the face.”