Further thoughts on the Ferrier case


As many will be aware, there are mixed views amongst the public – some strongly held and I suspect for various reasons – on the case of Ms Ferrier’s breeches of lockdown rules. What has not been reported by the media is that there were mixed views within Westminster’s Committee on Standards too, not on the facts that she was wrong to do as she did but on the severity of the sanction that should be applied to her.

Here is a link to the relevant Committee on Standards report: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/290/committee-on-standards/news/194555/committee-on-standards-publishes-report-on-the-conduct-of-margaret-ferrier-mp/

Whilst the Committee by a majority voted for Ms Ferrier’s 30 day suspension from the Commons – which crucially, opens up the possibility of a by-election – there are notable MPs on the Committee who wished to limit her suspension from the Commons to just NINE days.

The nine day suspension was proposed by Alberto Costa, the Tory MP. He was supported by other senior Tories, Sir Bernard Jenkin and Sir Charles Walker. (All three have been prominent in the Committee of Privileges currently investigating Boris Johnson’s alleged misleading of Parliament over parties during lockdown.) The SNP MP Allan Dorrans also supported a nine day suspension. Twelve committee members voted on this: the split was 4 for and 8 against the nine day suspension.

On the proposed 30 day suspension, the split was similar, 8 for the 30 day suspension and four against. Jenkin, Costa and Walker again with Dorrans opposed a 30 day ban. I think this says something about these senior, experienced politicians’ view of proportionality here!

This full Committee consists of seven MPs and seven lay members. Two MPs – one Tory and one Labour – voted for a 30 day suspension along with all lay members. So a majority of MPs supported the more lenient sanction.

Alberto Costa also proposed that the text of the judgement be modified to include the following statement:

‘Amendment proposed, in line 1, after “mitigating factors:” to insert “a) Ms Ferrier was a woman on her own in London, not her home city. There were no family or close friends to assist her. Her actions were not designed to enrich her or give her any form of benefit in kind. Her behaviour and judgement was directly affected by her distress and panic in her health condition and loneliness;”.—(Alberto Costa.)’

This was defeated by seven voters to five. Amongst MPs, ONLY the Labour member voted againts Costa’s amendment.

Finally, Sir Bernard Jenkin brought this statement to a vote:

‘In arriving at the decision on sanction, the Committee has had to take account of the effect of the Recall of MPs Act 2015. The recommended sanction, if approved by the House, will trigger the possibility of recall. We believe the operation of the Act requires review.’

The Committee members – including ALL MPs – voted eight to four in support of his statement.

I contend – without wishing to understate the seriousness and foolishness of Ms Ferrier’s action – that this FULLER information on the Committee’s deliberations shows matters in a somewhat different light – but one that will not be shone by the media and so one that will rarely be seen!


Also worth adding that she was subject to 2 police investigations. One by the Met which found she did not break the rules as they stood in England when she travelled and one by Police Scotland. The latter led to her arrest and subsequent trial in which she was given a 270 hour community service order.https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/former-snp-mp-margaret-ferrier-avoids-jail-sentence-as-she-receives-community-payback-order-for-covid-trips-3841322Compare and contrast that to filling in a questionnaire and a subsequent £50 fine.It is also worth pointing out when it comes to mitigations for her behaviour that ‘brain fog’ is a well recorded symptom of Covid-19 infections and may have impaired her judgement/decision making.It will be interesting to see if the 30 day suspension is confirmed whether they will get 8,000 signatures on a recall petition to trigger a by-election.


13 thoughts on “Further thoughts on the Ferrier case

  1. I have no sympathy for her , she knew the rules , she broke the rules , all that nonsense about being a woman on her own in London honestly , she is an MP ..in London often , she could have stayed in a hotel or bnb etc , she took a chance and got caught .A 30 day ban is lenient in my opinion.The rest of us had to adhere to rules throughout covid.


    1. Did she know the rules though? The Met Police investigated her and found that she didn’t break any rules, so is not reasonable to think that she may have thought the same?

      And there are always the arguments that the future king ignored the rules by travelling here, and the prime minister’s father ignored the rules by travelling overseas – each without penalty. Why are those acceptable and punishment-free?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. If she didn’t know the rules….I want to be an MP ….I could remember the rules they were blasted all over the news and the newspapers every day …if she didn’t know them she wasn’t paying enough attention which for an MP during covid is not an acceptable excuse…in my opinion


        1. At the time she travelled the rules were different in Scotland and England albeit for a short period of time befor England fell in line with Scotland. Furthermore she was in London so all the papers she was likely to be English ones spouting info on rules in England without mentioning the difference between England and Scotland. That is why she was arrested & tried in Scotland where her journey did break the rules. That she should not have travelled at all once testing positive almost goes without saying but other MPs had been advised it was Ok to travel when positive.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. As for Charles and others who broke rules they should be challenged and punished too , does the law apply to everyone ? evidently not, it’s injustice .


  2. No doubt there are indeed bigger fish to fry.
    And no doubt the “We believe the operation of the Act requires review.” will take place before those bigger fish get anywhere near the pan.
    Even when you think you have the miscreants dead to rights, they wriggle around and you are left holding a badly stitched pocket and the culprit is long gone.
    No point in advertising the rules you intend to discipline them with, they will simply change them. You need to catch them unawares, then their squirming to change the rules goes on under the full informed gaze of the public.
    When will we all accept that democracy and westminster are two diametrically opposed positions. Westminster is, always has been and always will be an elective dictatorship. Irrespective of which of the english parties holds sway.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a lot of time for Allan Dorrans – my own MP. However, I think the likes of Costa and Jenkin voting for a nine-day suspension has more to do with what’s coming down the track towards there precious Boris than anything else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Did you watch/read how Costa, Jenkin and Walker questioned Johnson during the Privileges Committee hearing (as I did at length)? Candidly, based on their approach, YOU MIGHT BE LESS CERTAIN of what would be – I accept – your reasonable supposition in normal times!


  4. I simply do not buy the ‘Tories got away with breaking the rules, so she should too’ argument. Isn’t the SNP supposed to be *better* than the Tories?


    1. Of course but, she did the 270 hours community service, her reputation is no doubt in tatters and, it’s only her breaking of the rules where some are demanding she should face potentially being unseated. The Tories partied away, break so many rules it’s off the scale, anyone demanding by elections take place? Not far as I have heard.


  5. The Westminster corruption is beyond belief. They get away with fraud and corruption time and time again. The countdown to a GE is in sight. Wait until then.


  6. Seems she was already reprimanded and did time (270 hours of community service!!) so why are they revisiting this. I think we all know why, the BritNat state are desperate to unseat her and install a British nationalist instead. This is not about putting safety of anyone at risk, after all the Tories do not care and their own record on Covid rules breaking is hardly squeeky clean) it’s a political move.

    On the subject of those in politics (and taking from the public purse) who are guilty of committing a crime, take a look at this, an ‘independent’ councillor in Orkney, found guilty of serious cruelty to the animals on his farm, he has been given 120 hours community service and is still a councillor far as I can see. Not only that seems he is still allowed to keep farm animals, supervised for two years, but he has been treated with kid gloves, punishment far too leniet. It’s truly sickening, only look at the article if you can stomach seeing those poor cows in such terrible conditions, some had to be euthanised. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

    I cannot find out which party he was representing before being an ‘independent’. Of cours eno mention of that anywhere. Anyone know?


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