Ferrier ‘missing in action’ as MP, says Starmer as he campaigns in seat

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has dubbed MP Margaret Ferrier “missing in action” as he prepares to campaign in her seat.

Ms Ferrier was found guilty of culpably and recklessly exposing the public “to the risk of infection, illness and death” by breaching Covid restrictions, and the Commons Standards Committee subsequently recommended a 30-day suspension from the House.

A vote to approve the suspension was due to be held on Thursday, but a motion to put it to MPs was not moved by the Government and it is understood there were concerns there was not the requisite number of MPs in the Commons for the vote to take place.

With Westminster in recess next week, the earliest the vote can return to the order paper is June 5.

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

Margaret Ferrier
Margaret Ferrier faces a 30-day Commons ban (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA)

If the suspension is approved, it would spark Scotland’s first recall petition, with constituents given the chance to call a by-election if 10% sign the document.

Labour – which held the seat before it was taken by the SNP in 2019 – has been active in the now-independent MP’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency, selecting teacher Michael Shanks to stand in any potential contest and deploying Scottish leader Anas Sarwar and his deputy Jackie Baillie there to campaign in recent weeks.

Sir Keir is expected to campaign and speak to members of the public in the South Lanarkshire seat on Friday.

Speaking ahead of the visit, he said: “For too long, the people of Rutherglen and Hamilton West have been failed by two bad governments and have been unrepresented by a missing-in-action MP.

“The people of this area are crying out for change and for a new politics that offers hope, partners with their ambition for their area, and focuses on their priorities.

“Only Labour can deliver the fresh start that Rutherglen and Hamilton West needs and only Labour will focus on tackling the cost-of-living crisis and building a brighter future for all of Scotland.”