A VOTE to suspend Margaret Ferrier from parliament, which would likely trigger a by-election, has been called off.

MPs had been expected to vote to remove the Rutherglen MP, who repeatedly broke Covid rules in 2020, from the House of Commons on Thursday.

It would have likely resulted in the MP losing her seat permanently in a by-election.

But in a sparsely-populated chamber on Thursday, Conservative whip Ruth Edwards said a motion which would have called for Ferrier to be suspended was "not moved" by the Government.

It is understood there may have been too few MPs to hold a vote.

Parliamentary rules require at least 35 MPs to vote for a division to count.

Labour chair of the Standards Committee Chris Bryant said he believed some Tory MPs had intended to vote against suspending Ferrier. 

READ MORE: Former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier sentenced to 270 hours of community service

It comes after fresh allegations of Covid rule-breaking were levelled against Boris Johnson, sparking allegations of a civil service "witch hunt" against the former prime minister. 

Bryant said: "I gather some Tory MPs intended to vote against the motion. Despite the fact that Ferrier appealed to the independent expert panel (chaired by a former high court judge) which rejected the appeal."

The Commons is now in recess, meaning the earliest MPs can vote on Ferrier's future is June 5. 

A Labour source told the PA news agency the Government had “bottled it” and pulled the vote amid fears it could have been defeated.

Ferrier, a former SNP MP who now sits as an independent, could face a by-election after she breached Covid rules in 2020 by travelling by train from Scotland to England while positive for the virus.

She was sentenced to 270 hours of community service after a court found her guilty of endangering the lives of others last year. 

She appealed against the punishment recommended by the Commons Standards Committee, however the Independent Expert Panel confirmed her challenge had been rejected.

READ MORE: Margaret Ferrier loses appeal against 30-day Commons ban

Byrant added: "I’m angry that the Government pulled the motion to approve the Standards Committee report on Margaret Ferrier. I don’t know what the rationale was but we should have had the motion on Tuesday or Wednesday."

An MP who misses 10 sitting days due to suspension is at risk of a by-election – but 10% of voters in their constituency must sign a recall petition.

There has never been a recall petition in Scotland since the procedure was introduced in 2015.