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Monday, October 26, 2020

What did Margaret Ferrier actually do – and which other high-profile figures have broken the rules?

SNP MP Margaret Ferrier is the latest high-profile figure to break coronavirus rules.

But what did she do and how does it compare to the political world’s other rule-breakers?

Margaret Ferrier, SNP MP for Rutherglen & Hamilton West

Image: Margaret Ferrier, SNP MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Saturday 26 September

Ms Ferrier, MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, started experiencing “mild symptoms” of coronavirus in the afternoon and took a test. It is not clear where she was at the time.

Monday 28 September

Ms Ferrier said she was “feeling much better” so took a train to London.

That evening, she gave a four-minute speech in the House of Commons during a debate on coronavirus.

At some point she received a positive result from the test but it is not clear whether this was before or after her parliamentary address.

Tuesday 29 September

Ms Ferrier said she boarded a train in the morning without seeking advice but began isolating when she arrived in Glasgow.

Wednesday 30 September

Two days after being notified about the positive test, she informed the SNP. Party officials have said they did not know at this stage that she had taken the test before travelling to London.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was also told and contact tracing began.

Thursday 1 October

Ms Ferrier reported herself to Police Scotland and released a statement saying she was “very sorry for my mistake” and admitting she should have isolated while awaiting her test result.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford suspended the whip from Ms Ferrier and party officials said they became aware she had taken a test before departing for parliament and had travelled back to Scotland knowing it had come back positive.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned her actions as “utterly indefensible”, but, despite growing calls for Ms Ferrier to go, Ms Sturgeon did not announce her sacking.

Other people who have found themselves in the spotlight over the lockdown rules:

Jeremy Corbyn

The former Labour Party leader attended a dinner with eight other people, breaking the “rule of six”, which limits the number of people in social gatherings.

He later apologised “for my mistake”.

Stanley Johnson

The prime minister’s father said he was “extremely sorry” after being pictured shopping in west London without wearing a face covering on 29 September, many weeks after they became mandatory.

Dominic Cummings

The prime minister’s closest aide drove to Durham in March, more than 260 miles from where he lives in London – after the instruction was issued telling people they must stay at home.

He was recovering from coronavirus symptoms at the time but, despite calls for him to resign, he said he had behaved “reasonably” and had no regrets.

Professor Neil Ferguson

The scientist resigned in May from his role as a key government adviser after admitting that he had undermined social distancing rules by meeting his lover at his home.

Scotland Yard said his behaviour was “plainly disappointing” but did not fine him because he had “taken responsibility”.

Dr Catherine Calderwood

Scotland’s chief medical officer broke lockdown restrictions twice in April by visiting her second home, more than an hour away from her main residence in Edinburgh.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wanted her to stay but she ultimately resigned.

Robert Jenrick

The housing, communities and local government secretary travelled more than an hour to visit his parents in April while everyone else was being told to stay at home.

Mr Jenrick was also criticised for travelling 150 miles from his London property to his Herefordshire home from where he travelled to his parents’ home in Shropshire.

He insisted he was delivering food and medicine to his isolating parents.

Stephen Kinnock

The MP for Aberavon in South Wales travelled to celebrate his father’s 78th birthday on 28 March, early in the lockdown.

His father is former Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

After Mr Kinnock posted a photo on Twitter of himself practising social distancing with his parents outside their home, South Wales Police replied: “We know celebrating your dad’s birthday is a lovely thing to do, however this is not essential travel.”

This post courtesy of sky

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